Borrowing from the experience of pilot projects around the world the academic and practice expertise of our Hunter/CUNY faculty associates, and in consultation with NYSACRA, we have developed a facilitation model by which persons with I/DD can choose trusted persons—often family members, neighbors or friends—to support them in making decisions in a variety of areas.
In our process, a trained facilitator, supervised by an experienced mentor, works with the person with I/DD (who we call the “Decision-Maker” or DM) and his or her chosen supporters to negotiate and formalize an agreement, the Supported Decision Making Agreement, or SDMA that sets out the obligations and responsibilities of the parties.

The Process in Brief

The facilitation process is made up of three phases, culminating in a written agreement (the Supported Decision-Making Agreement or SDMA), each of which is aimed at determining:

Which areas the person with I/DD (the “Decision-Maker, or DM) wants support in (i.e., financial matters, health care, living arrangements, etc.);

Who he or she wants to support him or her;

What kinds of support he or she wants (gathering information, helping to weigh alternatives or possible consequences; communicating decisions to third parties, etc.);

How he or she wants to receive that support (face-to-face meetings with individual supporters for individual areas; a “circle of support” for important, or all decisions; use of Skype and other technology for communication, etc.).

Art Credit: Kimberly Plaut