Everyday Lives Principles / Self Determination

Defining What's Important

Everyday Lives is a document published by the Department of Public Welfare. Everyday Lives resulted from efforts of the Office of Mental Retardation’s Planning Advisory Committee (PAC) who were asked to define what was important to people with disabilities and their families and what kind of supports they needed.

The following principles/values as outlined in the Everyday Lives document serve as standards for planning, policy development, service design and other related decision making:

Choice People want choice in all aspects of their life including their relationships, budgets and how money is spent, their supports and services, their medical issues and planning.
Quality People want quality of life as determined by them. People want quality supports and services to enable them to have a life that they want. When people pay for high quality supports, people expect to get high quality.
Stability People want to feel secure that all changes in their lives are made only with their input and permission - "nothing about me without me."
Safety People want to be safe at home, work, and school and in their neighborhood, as well as in all other aspects of their lives. People want services that ensure individual health and safety without being overprotective or restricting them.
Individuality People want to be known for their individuality and to be called by their name. People want to be respected by having privacy of their mail, files, and history and being able to choose to be alone at times.
Relationships People want relationships with family, partners, neighbors, people in the community such as pharmacists, hair stylists and grocers, support staff and with friends they choose.
Freedom People want to have the life they want and to negotiate risk. People want others to use "People First" language and to have freedom from labels. People with disabilities have the same rights afforded to all citizens. They want to exercise the freedom of choice, to associate with people they choose, to move from place to place, and to use complaint and appeal processes.
Success People want the freedom from poverty and a chance to be successful in the life they choose. Living independently with sufficient support to be successful and having expanded opportunities for employment with supports provided as needed.
Contributing to the
People want to be full citizens of the community, voting, working for pay or volunteering, participating in leisure and recreation activities, belonging to a religious community, owning or renting their own home, living among family and friends and not being segregated. People want to be recognized for their abilities and gifts and to have dignity and status.
Accountability People want the state and county government, together with support workers, to provide the services and supports they need when they need them and make sure that they don't lose needed supports that they already have.
Mentoring People and families want to be/can be trained as mentors to help other people and families by providing information and working with them until they can do things on their own; experienced Supports Coordinators are mentoring new Supports Coordinators; senior support staff are mentoring new support staff; and individuals and families are mentoring support staff.
Collaboration People need collaboration between the Office of Mental Retardation and other offices within the Department of Public Welfare and other state and federal departments. People want collaborative planning during times of transition. They also want a seamless system that bridges from education to people/services/systems that are involved with them.
People want community integration in all aspects of their lives. People want to be able to use community resources, like banks and food stores, just as other people in the community do, without feeling left out because of a disability. Integration means both being in the community and having the opportunity to participate in all that the community has to offer; including generic resources that don't label people as "special".

This information has been taken from Mental Retardation Bulletin #00-03-05; “Principles for the Mental Retardation System” issued by the Department of Public Welfare on June 13, 2003.