Frequently Asked Questions

How long does the process take?

Everyone is different, but, on average, the facilitation process take between 9-12 months, with anywhere between 5 and 10 meetings.

Where do meetings take place?

The meetings occur at a time and place convenient to the parties and the facilitator, which might include a library, community center, school, provider agency or the SDMNY office.

Are the meetings confidential?

Yes, nothing the DM tells the facilitator can be used without the DM’s permission; similarly, nothing can be shared with the DM’s supporters without the DM’s permission.

What happens if the DM wants to stop the process?

The DM is free to stop, end or delay the SDM facilitation process at any time.

Who are the facilitators?

Facilitators are persons with experience and/or specialized training in working with people with I/DD. They are recruited from a variety of places, including Master in Social Work (MSW) programs, provider agencies that share our mission, Occupational Therapy (OT) and Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) academic programs, retired and currently active professional volunteers. They receive 2 days of intensive training from SDMNY staff and ongoing supervision from mentors.

Who are the mentors?

Mentors are persons experienced in SDM facilitation. They supervise the facilitators, checking in with them regularly during the process. Mentors may also conduct initial facilitation meetings with small groups of DMs and/or supporters.

What happens once the SDMA is signed?

The facilitator and/or the mentor will check in with the DM and supporters on a monthly basis to see how SDM is working for them, and to offer assistance if necessary. The SDMA project staff will continue to be available for six months thereafter.

What if the SDMA needs to be changed?

As circumstances change, the DM may wish to change the agreement by adding or subtracting supporters (as, for example, when a supporter moves away, or is no longer able to participate), or changing the areas in which she or he wants support, or the kinds of support she or he wants. The DM has the right to change or terminate the SDMA at any time. The parties may be able to make simple changes on their own, and will have been given instruction in how to do so, but SDMNY staff will also be available to assist as necessary.

Do others have to accept decisions made with an SDMA?

Until we get legislation recognizing SDMAs in New York, third parties (health care providers, financial institutions, etc.) are not legally required to accept and honor such decisions, though of course they may do so. And SDMAs may also be a useful advocacy tool for Decision Makers in their relationship with others, including service providers.