Headshot of Amanda

Video courtesy of Nonotuck Resource Associates, partner in CPR’s first SDM Pilot.

Amanda Benoit is a well-traveled young woman from the Berkshires. She enjoys exploring the country with friends and family. She has been to Martha’s Vineyard, California, Florida, Louisiana, Tennessee, New York City, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

Amanda attends many community events including the Buddy Walk for Down Syndrome Awareness, Third Thursday, and numerous cultural events. She plays Special Olympics basketball and volunteers at fundraisers for Special Olympics throughout the year. An avid New England Patriots and WWE fan, she also loves listening to country music, watching movies and attending local basketball games. She receives services from Nonotuck Resource Associates.

Three SDM participants smiling together.

Amanda and Supported Decision-Making

Amanda is proud to be a part of the Nonotuck CPR Supported Decision-Making Pilot Project because she knows how important SDM is in her life. Amanda has Down Syndrome and at times needs support and clarity in understanding issues before making decisions. For her supported decision-making team, Amanda has chosen her caregiver, Sandy Robinson, her mother, Dollie Biagini, her respite worker, Dianne Moody, and her long-time friend, Maggy Walto.

Six years ago Amanda used her own model of SDM when she was in an emergency situation and needed a place to live. She told the caseworker at the Department of Disability Services to connect her with her friend Maggy. That connection led her to Nonotuck, and soon thereafter she moved into Sandy’s home. Amanda and Sandy’s relationship, which started on Thanksgiving Eve in 2009, continues to demonstrate the true spirit of Thanksgiving.

Photo of Amanda holding SDM agreement.
Amanda posing with bride and groom at wedding.

Sandy believes that supported decision-making is a great option for Amanda who “directs the course of her life and knows when she needs clarity in understanding decisions. The SDM Pilot  has given Amanda the continued opportunity to stay as independent as possible; this is what Amanda and her team both want.”

Photo of five women at conference.
Amanda traveled to Louisville, Kentucky to present on the panel for the Supported Decision Making/Alternate to Guardianship workshop at the 2015 national conference of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

Amanda loves living with Sandy and her family, which includes Eddie, Mayla, Craig, and Adea. They go on vacations together and visit Sandy and Eddie’s extended family as well. Amanda has learned many valuable life skills, such as being a team player in a large household. Amanda also feels she has grown by attending church with Sandy and the family. In 2012, Amanda and Sandy received the Shared Living Award from Nonotuck at the Annual AFC/Shared Living Conference.

In addition, Amanda loves to visit her mother and her sisters, Sarah and Elizabeth. She enjoys spending time with them during the holidays. She enjoys going through all her childhood pictures and making photo albums. She also likes to connect with other family members through Facebook.

Five people smiling.

Share your SDM story!

Do you use supported decision-making? You can help other people get started with SDM by sharing your experience.