American Judges Association


Date of this Version



Court Review, Volume 53, Issue 2 (2017)


Copyright American Judges Association. Used by permission.


F or a number of years now, I have been a committed advocate of supported decision making as an alternative to guardianship for people with intellectual disabilities. In writings, presentations, classes, and meetings,1 I have argued that supported decision making is not only less restrictive than guardianship but more consistent with principles of client-centered counseling and person-centered planning that animate approaches to lawyering and the delivery of services to people with intellectual disabilities. Even the most humane and limited forms of guardianship shift decision-making focus from the individual with a disability to his or her guardian or other surrogate decision maker. In contrast, although the person with an intellectual disability may get significant support from one or more supporters, that person remains the primary decision maker in his or her life.