NEW Report on Virginia SDM study by the Arc of Northern Virginia and the Burton Blatt Institute

“I learned that I have a voice in my future”: Summary, findings, and recommendations of the Virginia supported decision-making pilot project.

The Arc of Northern Virginia (The Arc) and The Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University (BBI) are pleased and proud to present this report on the work, findings, and recommendations of the Virginia Supported Decision-Making Pilot Project (the Pilot Project).

This report will first provide background information and foundational research on Supported Decision-Making (SDM) as an alternative to guardianship1 and a way to increase self-determination and enhance quality of life for people with disabilities.

Next, we summarize the Pilot Project, including how we: (1) Provided education and outreach on SDM to over 2,000 people with disabilities, families, and professionals; (2) Educated and empowered 10 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) to develop and implement individualized SDM plans; and (3) Documented how using SDM positively impacted project participants’ quality of life.

Third, we discuss in detail the results of our study, which found that project participants who used SDM showed improved independence and decision-making skills, made better decisions, and had enhanced quality of life.

Finally, we provide recommendations for ways the Commonwealth of Virginia can increase knowledge, access to and use of SDM for people with disabilities through policy and legislative activities and advocacy.