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Learning Centre

Making Choices

Think about all of the choices that you make every day.  You decide what you will wear, what you will eat, who you will have lunch with, etc.  You can create the same opportunities for the person you support throughout his/her day.

  • For example, in the morning while getting ready, the person can choose:
    • Which shirt to wear
    • What to have for breakfast
    • What type of spread to put on toast
    • Which TV show to watch or radio station to listen to while eating
    • Which personal care activity to do first – brush teeth or brush hair

Why is Choice Making Important?

  • Enables a person to have more control over their environment
    • More control supports a better quality of life and higher self esteem
    • Providing choices engages a person and helps him/her become an active participant in his/her day
    • Having a choice makes something not so fun more tolerable
      • e.g. when given a choice between doing the leg stretch or the arm stretch first (the individual dislikes both), being offered a choice allows him to have more control in the situation
  • Creates an opportunity for communication skill/vocabulary building
    • Choice making is a great way to introduce more communication opportunities to individuals who may not be very motivated to communicate

e.g. A person may not spontaneously say “Hi,” but he might point to the picture of chocolate when offered the choice of chocolate or lima beans

  • Choice making presents an opportunity for literacy no matter what level someone is at (objects, photos, symbols)
  • Helps to develop independence
    • People with limited communication skills may be more dependent on caregivers to help them make choices
    • With practice, some individuals can choose what they want spontaneously and not have to rely on others
    • Can help to reduce challenging behaviours
      • Not having a choice in daily activities may leave one feeling angry, powerless, frustrated, depressed, etc. which can lead to negative behaviours such as aggression, withdrawal, yelling, etc.