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Discussions about power and control have been advanced by the focused work of the Center for Self Determination. The Center has identified the following Principles of Self Determination:

  • Freedom – to live a meaningful life in the community.
  • Authority – over dollars needed for support.
  • Support – to organize resources in ways that are life enhancing and meaningful.
  • Responsibility – for the wise use of public dollars.
  • Confirmation – of the important leadership that self advocates must hold in a newly designed system.

These principles require that individuals must have the authority, power and resources to control their own destinies. This includes the authority to plan their own futures, and directly negotiate for funds which will assist them in realizing their dreams. It includes the fact that the individual is aided and abetted in planning and negotiations by those people (family, friends, advocates), and only those people, chosen by the individual.

A focus on self determination involves empowering individuals – arming individuals with the tools they need to control their lives. We have also gained an increasing understanding of the need to empower communities. One of the unintended outcomes of the growth of the human services sector is that individual citizens, neighborhoods, and community organizations have come to see the issues facing people with developmental disabilities as being solely the concern of government and agencies.

Video: Beyond Boundaries (1992)

An inclusive and challenging camp experience brings individuals with and without disabilities together to demonstrate the strengths and abilities of young adults with disabilities in a peer supported learning environment.