Supported Decision-Making

Supported Decision-Making (SDM) is a series of relationships, practices, arrangements and agreements designed to assist an individual with a disability to make and communicate to others decisions about their life.

*NEW* Supported Decision-Making: A User’s Guide for People with Disabilities and Their Supporters is now available (updated March 2019)!!! Click below to download your copy today!

During the 127th Legislature, LD 123 An Act to Recodify and Revise the Maine Probate Code, was signed into law. LD 123, also known as Public Law 402, includes "a finding that clear and convincing evidence has established that the identified needs of the respondent cannot be met by a protective arrangement instead of guardianship or other less restrictive alternatives, including use of appropriate supportive services, technological assistance or supported decision making." Click here to view the full text of the law. References to supported decision-making can be found in Parts 3-5.

Press Release: Guardianship Terminated in Favor of Supported Decision-Making for the First Time in Maine

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

More questions? 

Find the answers here