Personal choice and decision making: What’s your role?

  • For someone with limited or no verbal skills, DSPs can use eye movements, touch or adaptive tools to elicit personal choice in clothes, food, people, touch and activities.
  • Develop a visual display of daily choices (with real photos). Regular use will encourage self- direction by the person you support.
  • When you ask someone what he or she would like for breakfast, offer choices, such as, “Would you like toast and cereal or yogurt and fruit?” Instead of saying, “It’s Thursday, so we’re having cereal.”
  • Find out what is important to a person from his/her perspective and write down what you learn about a person’s likes and dislikes. Then share what you learn with others.
  • Remember, in order for a person to have true choice, there must be more than one option.
  • Rather than saying no to a perceived risky choice, work towards supporting the choice in a meaningful way and seeking help with making decisions from the person’s designated authorized representative or guardian if necessary.
  • Help people to make choices in naturally occurring situations.