Supported Decision-Making

What is Supported Decision-Making?

The Council on Developmental Disabilities was awarded a grant from the Special Hope Foundation to develop a Supported Decision-Making (SDM) pilot project for Kentucky. The Hope/Vision/Voice Project is conducted in partnership with the Lee Specialty Clinic and focuses on improving healthcare delivery for adults with a developmental disability through SDM. Based in Louisville, Lee Clinic is the only interdisciplinary patient care, teaching and research program in the country exclusively serving patients with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Supported Decision-Making is a process of supporting and accommodating an adult with a disability through a trusted network to enable the adult to make life decisions, including decisions regarding the services, support and medical care they want to receive without impeding their self-determination.

Benefits of Supported Decision-Making

Research demonstrates self-determination and the right to make life choices are key elements for a meaningful and independent life. SDM has been shown to increase self-determination in individuals with disabilities. These same individuals have:

  • Higher employment at increased wages and more community integration
  • Increased health, welfare and safety

Texas was the first state to recognize Supported Decision-Making as a substitute for guardianship in 2015, and Delaware passed legislation the summer of 2016. The State of Massachusetts has initiated a pilot study of SDM. North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland are also exploring the value of Supported Decision-Making within their communities.

For more information about SDM, click here to link to the ACLU's Supported Decision-Making Resource Library.

Learn more about the Hope/Vision/Voice Project:

Click here for information about the project and the SDM concept.

Click here for information for adult patients with disabilities who want to consider Supported Decision-Making.

For more information, contact Robert Napolilli at the Council at or 502.584.1239.