Woman running

For much of U.S. history people with disabilities have been segregated from the community and have lived in institutions. In the 1960’s and ‘70’s the civil rights movement led to the disability rights movement. People with disabilities demanded to be included in mainstream society. In the 1990’s self-determination was born out of the desire of those with disabilities to make their own life decisions. They wanted to create lives that were fulfilling and meaningful.


Self-Determination is based on respect and choice.


RESPECT – Recognizing that persons with disabilities are valuable, capable persons who deserve to be treated with respect. Acknowledging each individual’s value, strengths and abilities.


CHOICE – As a person with a disability, choosing where you live, who you live with, how you spend your time and money, what type of services you require and who you want to provide those services.


Quite simply, self-determination means people with disabilities should have the same opportunities and choices as people without disabilities.


The self-determination movement is founded on five basic principles:


    • Freedom: The right to make basic choices about your life.


    • Authority: To control the money that is spent on your behalf and the supports you receive.


    • Support: To organize resources that are life enhancing and meaningful


    • Responsibility: For the wise use of public dollars.


    • Confirmation: Affirming the central role you have in leadership and change


As a Minnesota Fiscal Agent, Orion ISO believes in self-determination. It is the foundation for self directed services and at the very heart of what we do. Here our staff talk about why self-determination is so important in the work that we do.


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