Jewish Abilities Atlanta advocates for Jewish people with disabilities and works to ensure that Jewish spaces are accessible to all people. The JAA community is full of bright, talented individuals who advocate for themselves and their peers and work to make Jewish Atlanta inclusive for individuals like Susan Berch:
Susan Berch has worked at Jewish Family & Career Services for the last 29 years, but not everyone knows her passion for advocacy. One form of self-advocacy that Susan is involved in is Supported Decision-Making (SDM). It involves getting a person support with making a decision. This process can vary from person to person, but the foundation of SDM is creating a plan that shows who will support the individual, and how. The plan must respect the person’s autonomy by making sure they make their own decisions and that their decision-making rights are not removed or diluted. Susan used SDM when she recently planned a vacation to Hawaii with her friends, and when she bought her condominium 20 years ago, as well as other day-to-day decisions.
For most people, having choice and control over their daily lives is deeply important. But many people with disabilities don’t have access to making everyday choices and decisions. This is why JAA works to raise awareness of SDM. JAA hosted a SDM webinar where Susan presented with other colleagues on the importance of SDM and how it is a human right. JAA continues to provide education and support so people with disabilities can have the opportunity that Susan has: to live the life of their choosing.