Supported Decision-Making (SDM)

Supported decision-making is an alternative to guardianship.

This process allows a person with a disability to make their own decisions with support from a team of people they trust instead of having someone else make decisions for them.

They can create a team of  supporters, who will work with them to make decisions together, and those decisions will be respected. This arrangement maximizes their independence and promotes self-advocacy.

How it works:

  • A person with a disability decides where they can use help making decisions (such as education, employment, finances, healthcare, relationships).

  • Then they pick a network or team of supporters - people they trust to help them make decisions.

  • This team works together to help them make a decision. The supporters do not make the decision for the other person, and they will respect whatever decision they make.

  • The person and their supporters sign a Supported Decision-Making Agreement.

What you can do:

  • Read this Guide: How to Make a Supported Decision-Making Agreement. (Click to open it in a new tab on your screen.) It's 36-pages long and is very easy to understand.

  • Spend some time exploring this website:, including their Resource Library.

  • Watch short movie clips of other people exploring supported decision-making.

  • Download a sample Supported Decision-Making (SDM) Agreement (Click the link at the bottom of the page. It will open in a new tab or appear in the bottom corner of your screen.)