Supported Decision Making

What is Supported Decision Making (SDM): It allows individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) to make choices about their own lives with support from a team of people. SDM is an alternative to guardianship.

Benefits of SDM:

  • Promotes autonomy and control
  • Fosters independence

How does SDM work: The individuals with I/DD chooses a team of people they know and trust to be part of a support network to help with decision-making.

Who might be part of the SDM Team: While each individual’s situation is different, SDM team members frequently include family members and/or friends. In addition, the team might include doctors, accountants, clergy and/or past and present providers. Team members should be people that the individual trusts will support him or her and will respect the individual’s decisions.

What is the role of the team:

  • Make sure the individual understands the information, the issues and the choices,
  • Help the individual weigh the options,
  • Ensure that decisions are based on the individual’s own preferences, and
  • Communicate the decisions to all other parties.

SDM Agreement: New Jersey does not currently have any laws regarding SDM. While not required, individuals may want to consider having a SDM agreement that lays out how the process will work. See link below for sample forms.