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Learn about
Self-Directed Support

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"Self Determination"
and "Self Direction"
work together.

Self Determination is:

- believing you can control your own destiny!

- attitudes and abilities that lead people to set and reach goals for themselves.

- making your own choices.

- learning to effectively solve problems.

- taking control and responsibility for one's own life. 

Self Determination isn't:

- necessarily the same thing as self-sufficiency or independence.

What Is Self-Directed Support?

There is a growing body of research and evidence that when people are in control of the funding for their own supports and services, they will use these resources creatively and efficiently to make sure they get good value for the money.


Self-Directed Support refers to the ways in which people who receive public long-term care funding in Wisconsin (and some other places as well) are able to choose and direct how to use all or part of that funding. They can decide:

  • Where and with whom they live, and

  • What they do during the day to work, to learn, to contribute, to enjoy life.

In general, they are able to obtain the support they need to have ordinary and extraordinary lives in our Wisconsin communities. SDS is the short-hand acronym or nickname for Self-Directed Support. Self-Directed Support is available in Wisconsin through IRIS and Family Care.

Self-Determination is a term that has been applied to long-term care across the world. It refers to:

  • Basic principles of freedom;

  • Support to be able to do the best one can to be in charge of one's life;

  • The authority to choose how funding is spent to obtain needed support and services;

  • An understanding that people who receive support can be responsible for the wise use of public dollars; and

  • Recognition of the contribution individuals with disabilities can make to their communities.

What Is Self-Directed Support?

Watch this story about self-direction:

Jerry Cywinksi:
Self-directed supports have made a positive impact on my life!

For more information, contact Patti Becker.

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