Jun 14 2017 Posted: 10:43 IST

NUI Galway’s Centre for Disability Law and Policy will host a training event on supported decision making in association with Cher Nicholson, a leading trainer in the area of supported decision making internationally and director of Asset (SA), on 15-16 June 2017.

The event will focus on developing supported decision making skills through an interactive workshop for professionals. Cher Nicholson initially worked on a supported decision making pilot project in South Australia and has since worked internationally to develop a deeper understanding of Supported Decision Making. 

The Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act 2015 is viewed as a key step towards enabling Ireland’s ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and is expected to fully commence later in 2017. This Act introduces a statutory framework for people to be supported in their decision making in all areas of their lives, to make legally-binding decisions about their personal welfare, property and affairs where their capacity to make decisions has been or soon will be called into question. The Act provides three types of decision-making supports that include: Assisted Decision-Making, Co-Decision-Making and court appointed Decision-Making Representatives and Orders. This is a radical change for Ireland so the discussion on supported decision-making is both pertinent and timely.

The guiding principles of the Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) Act 2015 introduces the focus on the will and preference of the person. The workshop is structured to provide professionals with the framework to have a ‘purposeful conversation’ with an individual to elicit their ‘expressed wishes’ without bounds. It will provide the opportunity to explore the difference between expressed wishes, individual will and preferences and best interest approaches to supporting people.

Professor Gerard Quinn, Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway, said: “Cher Nicholson’s visit is extremely timely. Now is the right time to think through how we are going to operationalise our own Assisted Decision-Making Act. It is important that we optimise all the potential of our legislation to restore voice and choice to people with disabilities and to pay heed to best practice and innovation emerging from places like Australia.”

Cher Nicholson has a broad range of experience and background with qualifications in Counselling, Mediation, Nursing, Financial Counselling, Clinical Supervision, and Workplace Assessing and Training. Having an acquired disability, and knowing how that can change others’ perception of her abilities, fuels her determination to help people with a disability believe in the possible, through the Supported Decision Making program that she has developed and now taken internationally.

For more information visit: www.conference.ie or contact Mary Faherty at mary.faherty@nuigalway.ie or 091 495888.

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