To make decisions for oneself is a core human and civil right, and for too long too many people with disabilities have had that right unnecessarily infringed.  When someone needs help making decisions, such assistance must be tailored to that person’s unique needs and abilities so that their right to self-determination is honored to the maximum extent possible.

With support by a grant from the Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council, DRN has developed a guide, Consent, Capacity, and Substitute-Decision Making, and four videos to accompany the guide, to help people with disabilities, their family members, service providers, and others to be better informed about the important issues related to decision-making and thus assure that this right is protected for all.


Consent, Capacity, and Substitute Decision-Making

Full Guide

Individual Chapters

Chapter 1: Decision-Making by People with Intellectual Disabilities

Chapter 2: Consent and Capacity to Make Decisions

Chapter 3: Types of Substitute Decision-Making

Chapter 4: Health Care Decision-Making

Chapter 5: Capacity, Sexuality & Family Life

Chapter 6: Mental Health Advance Directives

Chapter 7: Financial Powers of Attorney

Chapter 8: Educational Decision-Making under the IDEA

Chapter 9: Substitute Decision-Making through Trusts

Chapter 10: Guardianship in Pennsylvania

Chapter 11: Glossary of Important Terms

Chapter 12: Resources


To obtain a bound, hard copy of the guide (available in limited quantity), please contact the Disability Rights Network at 1-800-692-7443 extension 400.

We also have electronic copies of the guide in Spanish.


This video addresses what guardianship is, alternatives to guardianship and other common questions related to guardianship.


Financial Powers of Attorney

This video addresses what a financial power of attorney is and other common questions.


Health Care Substitute Decision-Making

This video addresses common questions related to health care substitute decision-making.


Trusts & Estates

This video addresses different kinds of trusts and other common questions related to trusts and estate planning for individuals with disabilities.