What Is Self Determination?

Self Determination means a philosophy and process by which individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities are empowered to gain control over the selection of support services that meet their needs.

The basic principles of self-determination are:

Freedom: The ability for an individual with an intellectual or developmental disability, together with freely-chosen family and friends, to plan a life with necessary support services rather than purchasing a predefined program.

Authority: The ability for an individual with an intellectual or developmental disability, with the help of a social support network if needed, to control a certain sum of resources in order to purchase support services.

Autonomy: The arranging of resources and personnel, both formal and informal, that assists an individual with an intellectual or developmental disability to live a life in the community rich in community affiliations.

Responsibility: The acceptance of a valued role in an individual’s community through competitive employment, organizational affiliations, personal development, and general caring for others in the community, as well as accountability for spending public dollars in ways that are life-enhancing for the individual.