There is a big push from NYS OPWDD towards Self-Direction as a way to allow people with developmental disabilities freedom of choice and a more person-centered approach to receiving services.
In this model, people have more freedom of choice when it comes to their care and how they spend their budgets. The person utilizing Self-Direction, along with their circle of support, can select the best services to support them, whether that is traditional service offerings, or something more creative.
Before Self-Direction, the only options available were traditional forms of service delivery. While this system works, it doesn’t allow as much freedom to make choices about service providers, service delivery options, and how to make the most out of their budget.
In this model, the person with the budget can choose who provides their care, what services they receive, and what to do with their budgets. Self-Direction encourages a model of self-advocacy and person-centered planning as it is up to the individual to choose exactly what is the best option for their lives.
If the person really enjoyed a program previously attended, they can continue those services, and have more control over how frequently they attend, or which provider they choose.
Self-Direction also offers more opportunity for the parents, guardians, and other family/support system to be involved in the service delivery. The field of developmental disabilities has strong roots in advocacy from parent groups to help advance the needs of the individuals supported. Self-Direction in a way gets back to those roots and encourages family and other supporters to be involved in the planning process of service delivery, as well as taking on an active role in managing the budget.
While navigating the Self-Direction model may seem tricky at first, long term it ultimately benefits the individual living with intellectual and developmental disabilities as they are in charge of their own lives. Empowering the individual leads to success not only in the individual’s life, but in the lives of those around them and in the community.
To learn more about Self-Direction from OPWDD, head to their website.