Support to make decisions
Some adults with disability may require extra support to make decisions. The amount of assistance required will depend on their particular circumstances and on the kind of decision to be made at any one time.
For most people this assistance will be available from family, friends, support circles and networks, peer support, paid and unpaid advocates. In all these arrangements it is important to ensure that the person with disability is directing their own decisions even if they require support from others to do so.
In some circumstances, the areas of assistance, and who provides the assistance, might be set out in a supported decision-making agreement as outlined in the article, Supported Decision-Making.
Some people may require assistance to understand and communicate their choices. Communication aids, translation of information into different formats and allowing for longer time frames are all ways that can assist people to exercise their right to make and express their decisions.
The Victorian Government document, Supporting decision making: A guide to supporting people with a disability to make their own decisions, outlines seven principles behind supported decision making and gives examples of what these look like in practice.
The document describes a "spectrum of decision making" ranging from "advice, supports, informal arrangements through to more formal arrangements and ultimately substituted decision making." (Please note that the legal information in this document applies only to the Victorian context but the other information and examples apply generally.)
Read more about Decision Making and Authority in Self Direction