This handbook is for you if:

  • you are a person with a developmental disability and you are eligible for Dane County services;
  • you are a friend or family member of a person with a developmental disability;
  • you work in the disabilities field;
  • you care what happens to people with developmental disabilities.

This handbook explains how the Dane County Developmental Disabilities system works. It will walk you through the process of being actively involved in creating quality support services. Dane County uses Self-directed Services (SDS). In Self-directed Services, people with disabilities (with help as needed) control and direct the supports they receive as much as possible. The handbook talks about how to have choices in your life—where you work, where you live and who helps you out.

This is the 2nd edition of Implementing Choice. In the 5 years since Dane County first began using Self-directed Services, we have learned much and made many changes and improvements in our system. Based on our experiences with SDS, we are able to give you a more realistic and practical view about the benefits and limits of our service system.

These are hard budget times. It seems that there are less and less resources available to help people. Waiting lists continue to grow. It is more important now than ever for people with disabilities and their advocates to have a loud voice regarding what they really need, and to have opportunities to speak out. SDS gives you a voice.

If you have any questions about the process you can call the Dane County Developmental Disabilities Unit at (608) 242-6200.