Supported Decision Making

This article contains a video
Curated by
Whitney Bailey
Content via Able South Carolina
Able South Carolina
Curated by
Whitney Bailey

W.C. Hoeke, a disability advocate, discusses the importance of supported decision making as an alternative to guardianship for people with intellectual disabilities. He shares the story of his twenty-one-year-old son Carl who benefits from supported decision making.

“Carl is an incredible twenty-one-year-old young man with a passion for life.”

W.C. says that Carl is excited about learning about the world he wants to live in. Occasionally, Carl needs W.C. to explain something in a way so he is able to really understand it. W.C. states that we as human beings go to each other for support when making decisions, whether that person be a family or friend. Therefore, a person with a disability receiving support from another person should not be perceived as any different from the rest of us.

“Supported decision making is how do we, as all of us as human beings, surround ourselves with a group of people who will help us when the process of decision making is needed.”

For Carl, W.C. says he would like the supported decision making to be very structured and documented on ways to make things happen.

W.C. believes many parents decide on guardianship for their adult child because they are afraid someone is going to take advantage of their child. “So I think parents go into (guardianship) wanting to make sure that they can get medical information their children, still wanting to help make medical decisions for their children, make sure someone doesn’t take advantage of them financially and doesn’t take advantage of them with decision making,” he says.

W.C. admits he promoted for parents to have guardianship for their adult children simply because he wanted the children to be safe. However, W.C. says his perspective of guardianship was made out of fear. W.C.’s perspective was changed when he was asked if he wanted Carl to be viewed as special or equal?

“...Do you want Carl special or do you want Carl equal?”

Carl has dreams just like anyone else, and one of those dreams is to get married one day. W.C. says there are supports out there to help your child become independent, one just has to have faith instead of fear!

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