Disability Rights Maryland’s (DRM) Attorney Megan Rusciano’s article, “Preserving Your Voice Throughout Your Lifetime: Supported Decision-Making as a Best Practice and Alternative Guardianship,” is featured in the spring 2020 issue of The Elder Law and Disability Rights Extra, published by the Maryland State Bar Association (MSBA). Megan’s article highlights the need for recognition of Supported Decision-Making, a best practice and alternative to guardianship that preserves the civil rights of people with disabilities by promoting their own agency and identity.
We are our choices. In our careers, our relationships, and indeed, our health, the decisions we make define our identity and sense of self. Yet, under guardianship and other substitute decision-making frameworks, people with disabilities are deemed incapable of making these decisions for themselves, too often due to stereotypes and assumptions of their capabilities. Studies show that people who lose this self-determination have poorer life outcomes. Supported Decision-Making offers a different legal path. Drawing upon the fact that we all use people whom we trust to help us make decisions, this framework allows a person to choose their own supporters who can help them make, communicate, and effectuate their decisions. We are all vulnerable to guardianship and the risk of being found incapable of making our own decisions as we age. Supported Decision-Making offers a solution that can bolster a person’s self-determination as opposed to alternative systems that take it away. As we celebrate 30 years of advocacy under the Americans with Disabilities Act and recognize all the work yet to be done, advocacy for Supported Decision-Making provides us an opportunity to ensure that people with disabilities have access to some of their most fundamental rights: their rights to make their own decisions and choices.
You can read Megan’s article below on page 2:Spring-2020-Newsletter-Elder-Law-Section-MSBA
Reprinted with permission from the Maryland State Bar Association, Inc. from the Elder and Disability Rights Section newsletter, The Elder and Disability Rights Extra, Volume 24 Issue 1, Spring 2020 edition.