3 Practical strategies to support choice and control for all people

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All people who struggle with communication can be supported to make their own decisions. There are many tools and strategies that can help with this.

This article describes simple tools and strategies to support every person to understand, compare and express their preferences as they make decisions. These strategies apply even if they are still learning to use words or AAC to fully express themselves.

What does supported decision-making include?

In ‘Real choices, real control: support for decision-making when you cannot speak’ we explain the process of supported decision-making. It aims to help AAC users to discover:

  • Who they are as an individual and what makes them unique;
  • What is important to them, what is not negotiable and what they prioritize in their life above all else;
  • Who they want help from to make decisions;
  • What communication partners need to know about how the person communicates so that they can respond in a way that is respectful and acted upon;
  • What support is needed so they fully understand the information and choices given to them;
  • What decisions they can make for themselves, and which decisions they need support with;
  • When they need this support, e.g. regularly and daily, or occasional?
  • sounds and vocalizations, like a happy squeal for joy or a groan for discomfort
  • gestures, such as reaching for what they want or pushing away what they don’t
  • facial expressions, such as a smile or grimace
  • body movements, such as turning towards/away from what interests/disinterests them, or walking away from an unpleasant environment.

Three steps

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