About Self Determination

Self Determination

What is Self Determination?

Self-determination is a national movement about rights and personal freedom.  It is an approach to service delivery that supports people with disabilities to live the lives they desire. Self-determination helps people, their families and friends determine their future, design their own support plans, choose the assistance they need to live full lives and control a personal budget for their supports.  Individuals may use their individual budgets to hire their own staff, to purchase supports from a traditional agency or from an Agency With Choice, or may select a combination of these approaches.

Self Determination Means:

People with disabilities have the right to control their lives and have authority over the resources that support them.  People with disabilities have the:Signs for Independence, Autonomy, Freedom and Self-Reliance

  • Freedom to decide how to live their lives;

  • Authority over their resources and supports;

  • Support they need to live full lives; and

  • Responsibility for their decisions and actions
How Self Determination Works for Me:

Self Determination is an approach to service delivery in which people with disabilities and their families:

  • Determine their future;

  • Design their own support plans;

  • Choose the assistance they need to live full lives;

  • Control a personal budget for their supports;

In the past people with disabilities have had little or no opportunity to plan their own futures and realize their dreams. Self Determination helps people create the quality of life they desire and as a result, people tend to be happier with the supports they receive.

Self Determination Principles (English)

Self Determination Principles (Spanish)

How does DDS Support People to Live a Self-Determined Life?

Living the Mission

Self Advocacy

Person Centered Planning


Employment & Day Services

Employment Idol

What is Self Direction?

Self Direction is a service delivery model that people can use to put self determination principles into action. You have the freedom to develop the supports you need to live the life you want.  

Image of a Person standing on several red arrows

What does it Mean to Self Direct My Supports?

Self Direction is a way to live a more self-determined life.

  • You have the Choice to hire your own staff – a direct support professional

  • You take control and authority for managing your own supports within your life at home or at work.

  • You become the “Boss” or Employer of your direct support professional

  • You have the freedom to develop the supports you need to live the life you want

  • You take responsibility for exploring all your available resources to support the plan you have for your life

  • You have a choice to select a human service agency to assist you in your daily life


What Does it Take to Hire and Manage My Own Supports?
  • Confidence that you can:

  • Determine the supports you need;

  • Recruit and Interview the people that will work best with you;

  • Choose and Hire the direct support professional that makes you feel empowered, safe, and assured that you can be as independent as possible;

  • Train the direct support professional to know you and work with you to be the best you can be and to learn new skills to help you achieve your goals in life;

  • Supervise and Manage the direct support professional to know their work responsibilities and how best to support you in living your life.

Who Pays For This?

Everyone should be living the life they choose and directing their own lives with the support of their family and friends.

People who are DDS Eligible and have been allocated money to support their needs, can choose to self direct their supports.

Other resources include:

  • Entitlements/benefits

  • Insurance

  • Personal Resources

  • Networking

character people

Who Will Assist Me if I Choose to Self-Direct My Own Staff?

You are the “Boss” but you can get support from:

  • Family

  • Friends

  • Community Connections

  • Your Planning and Support Team, if applicable

  • Your DDS Case Manager, if applicable

  • Your Fiscal Intermediary for payroll processing and hiring support, if applicable.