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Decision-making: a right not a privilege for people with disability 

Publication date: Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Everyday life consists of multiple decision-making exercises, from the routine like working out what time to get up in the morning, to the more complex and possibly life-changing ones such as buying a house and getting a mortgage. 

While making decisions is empowering, this authority is unfortunately taken out of some people’s hands.

“People with disability tell our solicitors that they are not given a fair chance to make their own decisions. People assume they lack capacity,” says Intellectual Disability Rights Service solicitor Ali Craig.

Now, an interactive e-learning tool is available to promote greater understanding of a person’s right to make decisions and how to empower people to be in control of their lives and make their own judgment calls.   

“This module provides a practical framework for understanding different types of decision making, the difference between supported and substituted decision making and the simple steps that professionals can take to maximise a person’s capacity to make their own decisions,” she says. 

Decision-making is a right that is enshrined in NSW law. There is a presumption that every adult has the ability to make their own decisions and it cannot be assumed that a person lacks decision-making ability based on a condition or characteristic, for example how they communicate, behave or any physical attributes. 

The Decision-making and Capacity e-learning module has been designed by Diversity Services for people who work in health, law, finance, disability, ageing and social work sectors, as well as for the friends, family and carers of people with decision-making disabilities.

The module covers topics such as legal capacity, NSW law, the factors that impact on decision-making as well as where to find more information. 

It is free, self-paced, easy to navigate and uses case studies to promote understanding.

Access is available online at www.justice.nsw.gov.au/decisionmaking and takes approximately 30 minutes to complete.