People with disabilities too often are denied the opportunity to exercise control over the most basic aspects of daily life. Consumer direction (CD) is a philosophy and an orientation whereby informed consumers have control over the policies and practices that directly affect their lives. It is a mechanism by which individuals with disabilities can develop the skills to take control of their lives and their environment. The primary tenet of this paper is that increased CD in disability policy development and rehabilitation service delivery will lead to increased community integration, empowerment, and quality of life for people with disabilities. In this paper, the concept is presented as a guide for disability policy development and rehabilitation service delivery. Consumer choice, the current status of people with disabilities in U.S. society, and the need for CD are discussed. An overview and definition of CD are presented, and the underlying assumptions are described. A conceptual framework, issues surrounding measurement and operationalization, and five examples of CD are presented. Finally, the implications of CD relative to consumer and service provider roles, the empowerment of people with disabilities, and potential benefits are discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)