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Supported Decision Making

Supported Decision Making (SDM) is a tool that provides people with disabilities the opportunity to make their own decisions while getting support from people they trust.

What is supported decision making?

Supported Decision Making (SDM) is a tool that provides people with disabilities the opportunity to make their own decisions by choosing supporters to help them make choices. A person using SDM selects their team of trusted people, such as friends, family members, or professionals, to serve as supporters while making their own decisions. SDM provides the opportunity for people with disabilities to be in control of their life, self-determined and their own agents of change. Supported Decision Making can be used as an alternative to Guardianship, so that no one person is making decisions for the person with a disability. By using Supported Decision Making, we begin to educate the broader community around the contribution and value that people with disabilities bring to the table. We create the threads of connection, respect and understanding of everyone’s right to self determination. 

How does Supported Decision Making work?

The person will identify the areas of their life they want more control over and the specific support they need to get there.

The person will enlist and build their support network with people who understand the person’s preferences, values and hopes and dreams.

The support network will help the person think through major decisions.


The support network communicates the person’s decision and will help them move forward with their hopes, dreams and goals.


Since 2021, SUN has worked in collaboration with the Georgia Advocacy Office (GAO) and the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) to support the I DECIDE Coalition after GAO was selected to participate in the Administration on Community Living’s Center on Youth Voice Youth Choice. Through this national project SUN and GAO are connected to a network of state practitioners and other experts while training youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities to become Youth Ambassadors to promote alternatives to guardianship and work for change in their states.  Visit the I DECIDE website to learn more about Supported Decision Making and start your journey towards a life of self-determination.

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