“Help me to decide”: the role of the social worker in assisting people with intellectual disabilities in supported decision-making
Decision-making is the basis of individual autonomy, allowing a person to control his or her life and to engage in society. Supported decision-making is an evolving model that complies with Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and allows for the maintenance of autonomy of decision-making for people with disabilities. The question of this study – what environmental conditions and social support measures assist individuals with intellectual disabilities to make their own decisions? The aim of the study is to reveal the ways based on human rights of social worker support for people with intellectual disabilities in expressing their will and making decisions. A qualitative methodology, a strategy of participatory action research, and a participant observation methodology have been applied. The participants of the survey are 26 adults with intellectual disabilities.
The thematic analysis was used to analyse the data obtained. The study revealed the need to provide the necessary assistance to individuals with intellectual disabilities in making their own decisions. Social workers can play a significant role in this process by providing legal and methodological tools. Research has shown that an organisational environment
that respects human dignity, an equivalent relationship with a disabled person, and conscious social worker attitude and self-reflection are important factors in supported decision-making. It has been revealed that the help of a social worker may be necessary and useful in various stages of decision-making: at times of formulating and expressing a person’s
wish or opinion, searching for related information or alternatives, at a time of self-determination, and in implementing the choice.
Keywords: Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities of the United Nations, suported