Personal Responsibility

A key component of the DDS mission includes the vision statement that “Individuals make informed choices and take responsibility for their lives and experience the dignity of risk and that they know their rights and responsibilities and pursue opportunities to live the life they choose”.
In the context of self-development, responsibility also known as self-responsibility or personal responsibility is the acknowledgment that you, the individual, through your thinking, feelings and behavior are in control of how you experience life.  In assuming personal responsibility, the individual themselves solves their own problems, rather than waiting for another entity to resolve their issues, and they accept the consequences of their decisions.
For an individual to develop personal responsibility there is a shift in framework and core beliefs
 From a framework of  To a framework of
 custodial care  decision making
 overprotection  network of community
 compliance  empowerment
 directiveness  choices
 withholding information  to sharing information
 risk aversion  dignity of risk
 training  capacity to learn
 group think  sense of self
 dependency  security
 complacency  advocacy
In 1969, after touring Denmark and Sweden, Robert Perske observed that in contrast to circumstances in the United States, people with disabilities were given real opportunities to live life to take risks.  He coined a useful expression - the dignity of risk - to capture the attitude and the phrase was used over and over in the United States to help justify a complete revamping of the response to disability.
Fundamental to these changes has been the experience of risk and the acceptance of a degree of uncertainty associated with change and reform.  The price for changes in systems of services was the assumption of risk on the part of people with disabilities and their families.  Years later, Perske’s phrase is as relevant as it was in 1969, only perhaps with a new twist.  The phrase might now be extended beyond the individual with disability to refer equally to the entire developmental disabilities field.
Ideas to Assist People with Personal Responsibility
Read articles by Kathleen Snow, David Hingsburger, Robert Perske, Jack Pierpoint Inclusion Press. CHOICESS, and the late Marsha Forest.
  • Use the individual plan process in which the individual identifies their wants and desires.

  • Join self-advocacy groups.

  • Work with your own family and community to develop safeguards to better support the individual and to allow them to take risks.

  • Encourage schools to develop and implement curriculums of self-determination for their students.

  • Sharing of good information amongst families and individuals to better educate themselves about resources.

  • Visit the DDS Advocates' Corner