What does self-determination mean for individuals who experience disabilities?

Self-determination is both a philosophy and a process that Community Pathways follows to advocate that people have the right and responsibility to choose and direct the supports and services that impact their lives. It is by having the opportunity to take risks and make choices that people are able to pursue their goals and become valued, respected, and contributing members of their communities.

In the past, people experiencing intellectual and/or developmental disabilities have been denied the rights of self-determination. For this reason, it is the mission of Community Pathways to assist people who experience disabilities to live empowered, self-determined lives shaped by their own choices and connections to the community.


The following principles of self-determination are foundational to Community Pathways' delivery of brokerage services:


Everyone has the right to choose how they would like to plan and live their life. You can plan your life with necessary support services and choose who will provide these supports. You decide how to spend your time, including having a job, going to school, and making friends.

Example: You can choose if you live your life with or without paid supports. You decide how to spend your time, money, and what goals to pursue. If you choose to have paid services, you hire the types of providers that make sense to you.


You have the right to choose, with a social support network, if needed, how your support service funds are used to purchase services.

Example: You choose the goals that are in your individualized support plan. You can make changes to your goals at any time with the assistance of your PA. You are responsible for deciding who will work with you, the hours worked, and the things you will work on together.


You have the right to arrange your supports in order to live a life in the community rich with community partnership, relationships, and connections.

Example: You choose how and when you receive services with as little or as much help as you need.


You are responsible for using your support service funds for purchasing supports that improve your life and role within the community. You understand that there are limits to the funding available and use it in a way that supports the goals in your ISP.

Example: You sign invoices to show you received the supports that helped you achieve your goals, and you used your funding for the purpose of working toward your ISP goals.


Community Pathways firmly believes that freedom, authority, autonomy, and responsibility are key aspects to the success of anyone and everyone.

As a customer of our brokerage, it is our job to support you in getting your needs met. If at any time you are dissatisfied with our services, please call us at (503) 935-5243 and ask to speak with a supervisor or the executive director.