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Supported Decision Making

Information and Resources

At the Council on Developmental Disabilities, we recognize that decision-making is a human right – regardless of your label or circumstances. We have invested in making Tennessee a place where people with disabilities and their supporters can find easy-to-understand information about decision-making supports in one place.

Check out the Tennessee Center for Decision-Making Supports. This Center is supported in a joint effort by The Arc Tennessee, Disability Rights Tennessee and the Council on Developmental Disabilities.

The TN Center for Decision-Making Support logo, an abstract image in orange and light blue of circles and arcs implying two people creating a circle of support. Below reads, “Information, tools, and resources about decision-making options for people with disabilities. A collaborative effort by The Arc Tennessee, Tennessee’s Council on Developmental Disabilities, and Disability Rights Tennessee.

What is Supported Decision-Making?

Supported decision-making (SDM) is a tool for people with disabilities to make choices about their own lives with support from a team. With SDM, people with disabilities keep their legal rights. They can choose people they know and trust to help make decisions. These team members help the person to understand and think about all parts of choice. Then the person with a disability makes their own decision. 

Check out this video made by our partners at The Arc Tennessee, who participate in the Supported Decision Making workgroup along with the Council and many other disability organizations in TN. The video features a number of graduates and family members of graduates of our Partners in Policymaking Leadership Institute.


Tennessee enacted legislation to advance Supported Decision Making. Read an explanation of what the law does and does not do here.

3 photos with accompanying blocks of text: 1) about a dozen disability advocates, self-advocates and Sen. Becky Massey at the Sept. 2016 summer study hearing for the supported decision making legislation posing for a group photo at the legislature; beside the photo it says “Supported Decision Making”, under the Council logo; 2) text reads: On April 2, 2018, Gov. Bill Haslam signed SB264/HB941, Tennessee’s supported decision making legislation. Photo shows Council Policy Director Lauren Pearcy, Council Executive Director Wanda Willis and Dept. of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities staff Theresa Sloan seated at a desk with microphones, testifying at a legislative committee hearing about supported decision making; 3) final photo shows about a dozen adults who are members of the Council’s Employment Roundtable, along with national expert Jonathan Martinis; text reads: “We are proud to have worked with the bill’s sponsors, Sen. Becky Massey (R-Knoxville) & Rep. Mike Carter (R-Ooltewah) and a workgroup of 8 disability organizations on bringing this topic to TN. We will continue working together to educate Tennesseans about how to use Supported Decision Making.”]

Supported Decision Making Workgroup

The TN Council on Developmental Disabilities is part of a Supported Decision Making Workgroup, comprised of disability organizations in Tennessee working together on this topic: TN Council on Developmental Disabilities, The Arc Tennessee, and Disability Rights TN, as well as other partners.

group of about 15 adults with and without disabilities representing the above disability agencies in tn

This Page Last Updated: July 14, 2021 at 3:47 PM