The decisions and choices that we make are a reflection of who we are as individuals. Outcomes of decisions—good and bad—help us learn and grow as individuals. Through involvement in decision making we can gain experience, confidence and knowledge which enrich our lives.
As support professionals for people with disabilities, we are responsible for helping people with disabilities make informed choices. These means we provide the person with sufficient information, support and experiences to make informed choices that are meaningful to him/her and to balance and take responsibility for risks associated with choice.
For example, if someone receiving services would like to color their hair, they have this right. As supporters, we might talk with the person about cost, whether or not there would be problems with their color choice at their place of work, what colors might take best to their hair, etc. If the person elects to move forward with coloring their hair, we would offer assistance with the process to assist with a nice final hair color.
The MN Olmstead Plan supports the right for individuals with disabilities to choose where they live, work, learn and live their lives. Likewise, the federal centers for Medicare and Medicaid have recently passed down national rules requiring that people with disabilities have enough information to make informed choices about the type of services they receive.
For more information about Informed Choice, please access the MN DHS Person-Centered, Informed Choice and Transition Protocol