Guardianship law versus supported decision- making policies: Perceptions of persons with intellectual or psychiatric disabilities and parents

Shirli Werner*, Rachel Chabany

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Article 12 of the Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities recognizes all persons with disabilities as having legal capacity in all areas of life. However, in adherence to the Israeli Legal Capacity and Guardianship Law (1962), many persons with intellectual disability (ID) or mental illness (MI) have these rights revoked because of the appointment of a guardian. Little is known about these persons' perceptions about guardianship and supported decision making (SDM). Using focus groups, we examined the perceptions of persons with ID, persons with MI, and parents regarding guardianship and SDM. Most participants expressed their desire to adopt a model of SDM in their daily decision making, though differences were found among the groups. Persons with MI emphasized their right to be independent in decisions regarding their lives, and parents of these persons aspired to support their children to reach independence, except in times of crisis. Persons with ID also desired more independence, but they were uncertain if this would be possible for them. Some individuals with ID preferred that decisions regarding their lives be made on their behalf. Parents of persons with ID felt that it was critical for them to serve as guardians of their children. Recommendations are provided on how to promote the legal capacity of individuals with disabilities.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)486-499
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Journal of Orthopsychiatry
Volume86
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 American Orthopsychiatric Association.

Keywords

  • Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
  • Autonomy
  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Mental illness
  • Self-determination

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