Self-direction: terms and definitions

A number of different terms are used in articles and discussions about self-direction.  Generally these terms are used to describe arrangements that enable people with disability to direct their own support, either on their own or with the support of others eg family members, friends, networks, circles of support. 

An important common element in these terms and definitions is that the 'self' in self-direction refers to the person who requires support.  

Definitions used on the Pearl website are those agreed to by the Alliance for Self-direction in Queensland.

Self-direction: describes arrangements where the person routinely makes the vast majority of key decisions so that he/she considers him/herself to be fully in control of the supports received or where a person is given the authority to make these decisions on behalf of another person.

Family/Assisted-direction: describes arrangements where a family member or committed friend/advocate exercises their 'natural authority' to routinely make the vast majority of key decisions in a shared authority arrangement. The control of the supports received is directed by the person who shares the authority. This shared authority arrangement is usually based on delegated conditions.

Self-management or self-managed funds: describes  arrangements where a person, or people on their behalf, are responsible for the day-to-day management and administration involved in funded support.

Family/Assisted management or -managed funds: describes arrangements where a person is assisted in their management and administration of funded support by a family member, committed friend or advocate. 

Directive Control: an alternative and more detailed definition of self-direction that describes the arrangement as one where "a person has the degree of authority over things that matter to the person and to the degree that the person can commit to, in order to have a rich and meaningful life".  This definition of the term is explained in more detail in Jane Sherwin's article, Summary of seven Propositions for Fruitful Directive Control.

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