Supported Decision-Making

Supported Decision-Making is a method of developing decision-making skills by relying on Supporters to assist you in collecting information, processing information, and coming to a reasoned decision. Supported Decision-Making is an alternative to guardianship in that it provides a trusted environment for individuals who are seeking assistance with decision-making while still promoting self-determination. In contrast to guardianship, Supported Decision-Making is flexible and can change with the needs of the individual to provide more opportunities for independence and autonomy.



To learn more about Supported Decision-Making, or to request a training for your organization, contact Disability Rights Maine at 1.800.452.1948 or fill out our online contact form.


Q: What is Supported Decision-Making?

Supported Decision-Making (SDM) is a tool that allows people with disabilities to retain their decision-making capacity by choosing supports to help them make choices. 

Q: What does Supported Decision-Making actually look like?

Supported Decision-Making will look different for everyone. It means finding supports to help a person with a disability understand, make, and communicate their own choices. When using Supported Decision-Making, the person can execute a Supported Decision-Making agreement which identifies their method of decision-making. This document can help doctors, bankers, lawyers, and other third parties to understand and accept the decision of the person with a disability.

Q: What are some examples of tools used in Supported Decision-Making?

Examples of tools might be:

  • Plain language materials or information in visual or audio form
  • Extra time to discuss choices
  • Creating lists of pros and cons
  • Role-playing activities to help the person understand choices
  • Bringing a supporter into important appointments to take notes and help the person remember and discuss their options
  • Bill payment tools such as auto-payments or bill management notification apps

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