What is self-direction?
Self-direction means that a person who has a developmental disability may choose supports and services that work best for them, including how and when the supports and services are provided and the staff and/or organizations that provide them. Along with the freedom to choose supports, services, and staff comes the duty to handle matters in a responsible way. This is a person-centered approach to supports and services. Person-centered means it’s all about you!

Self-directed services offer you budget and employer authority. Budget authority means that funds are managed solely for your benefit either by yourself or with the help of your family, broker, care coordinator, and anyone else you choose. Employer authority means that you, with assistance, have the power to hire, schedule and train people who work with you.

Self-direction is administered through New York State Office for Persons with Developmental Disabilities (NYS OPWDD).
Self-direction, step-by-step
Poster showing person at the center of a circle of hopes and goals for their future
What can be included in a self-direction plan?
It all depends on what you’d like to do and what your goals are. Here are some of the many possibilities:

  • Hire a personal trainer to help you stay fit
  • Buy a museum membership
  • Audit a photography class at college
  • Volunteer at the zoo
  • Learn to do your laundry
  • Learn to cook
  • Search for a job and get on-the-job support
  • Explore housing options
  • Pay for a cell phone
  • Pay for your staff to receive training 

A parent's perspective on self-direction
"It’s exciting to see how my son has grown since we began the process of self-directing his services. He gets out in the community more and enjoys meeting new friends, with the support of his staff. Just a few of the skills he has gained are personal fitness, painting, cooking, and money management. Self-direction allows him to live the life he wants to live."
Additional resources
OPWDD, Self-Direction, https://opwdd.ny.gov/selfdirection

In the Driver’s Seat, https://inthedriversseat.org/

Self-Direction in New York State: a Practical Guide for Families, https://www.yai.org/sites/default/files/documents/a_practical_guide_for_families.pdf

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Starbridge’s series of videos about Understanding Tourette Syndrome are now available through our website: www.starbridgeinc.org/tourette-videos

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