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Self Determination

The Self Determination movement is founded on the American principles of liberty, justice, equality, and the right to make decisions about one's own life. Self Determination is a movement of freedom for individuals, who as a result of their disability and vulnerability, have often been oppressed, segregated and isolated within our society.

Self Determination offers the opportunity for people with disabilities and their families to participate in and make decisions about their own lives, about where and with whom they live, and how they spend their time, all within the context of being active, participating, and contributing members of society.

Guiding Principles of Self Determination

Self Determination is defined by a set of founding principles that ensure freedom, choice and self-direction in the lives of all people. Keystone is a leader in this movement and is deeply committed to helping both individuals and families realize the important benefits of Self Determination in their daily lives. The Guiding Principles of Self Determination include:

Freedom and Choice
People have the right to choose how they live their lives, where they will live in the community and with whom. When people need help, it is friends and family closest to them who assist them in broadening their experiences and exercising their right to choose. It is essential that each person have a network or circle of support chosen by them.
Relationships & Connectedness
The relationships a person has with others must be treasured, nurtured and protected. Those with whom the individual has close relationships provide the strength, assistance and security which ensure each person's well-being.
Contribution and Community
Everyone has the ability to participate in and contribute to their community in a meaningful ways. Giving of ourselves helps establish a sense of belonging, worth and identity. Community membership includes having an opportunity to be employed, to own a home, to be truly involved in the routines of the community and to make a difference in the lives of others.
Roles and Responsibilities
Individuals, as they take greater control over their lives and resources, also assume greater responsibility for their decisions and actions. They are responsible to contribute to their supports, become self-advocates and communicate needs and dreams. Professional support staff should work for the individual rather than for the system. Families, friends and staff assist people to create more meaningful relationships, link them with needed supports, help remove barriers, develop safety networks and help find ways to achieve the essence of their dreams.
Control
People have the power to make decisions and truly control their lives. This includes authority over financial resources, as well as authority to determine what supports are needed, how they will be implemented, and by whom. People also have control of hiring those who will provide support.
Dreams
All people have hopes and dreams about something in their life. Opportunities need to be created which instill hope and then enable the individual and their circle of support to begin the journey toward the person's own dream.
Dignity and Respect
All people have an inherent right to be treated with dignity and respect. People have the right to make mistakes and be supported through their mistakes, while developing meaningful supports in their lives. All people have the right to the dignity of taking risk. The network of support makes risk possible by weaving a safety net which provides appropriate safe guards and supports while encouraging learning and growth.
Fiscal Conservatism and Stewardship
Many important things can be achieved without money. It is imperative that natural and freely given supports from friends, family and neighbors supplement paid supports. When supports are purchased, people will get what they need, pay only for what they get, spend money efficiently and make adjustments when necessary. Individuals have the opportunity to find the best quality for the most reasonable price. When people need services or supports, services should be of high quality and should be effective in meeting real needs.
Attitude
Nothing is impossible. "No" is replaced with "How can we help you achieve your dreams?"

Self Determination in Keystone

Keystone service areas providing services driven by Self Determination:

Links to additional Self Determination Resources

Susquehanna Service Dogs Cookbook

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