The following is a list of the guiding principles that gives direction to the Board’s planning efforts and greater understanding about the people the Board serves:

The Board believes that all people, including people with disabilities and their families, have the same basic rights associated with the status of citizenship. All people have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; the right to be treated with respect and dignity; and the right to direct one’s own life, to control one’s own destiny.

The Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental Disabilities believes that individuals with developmental disabilities and their families should be the primary decision makers in the management of their lives including determining how the limited amount of public funding available to support them is spent. Individuals and families should be able to direct their supports to the extent they desire.

Within the limited resources available to them, individuals with developmental disabilities and their families have the right to make such essential decisions as where to live, with whom to live, and how and where to spend their time. People should have the freedom to choose the individuals or agencies supporting them.

Our valid goal of increasing independence for people with developmental disabilities is balanced by emphasizing the interrelationship and interdependence of people with developmental disabilities with one another, with their families, and with all of us on this planet who depend upon one another for survival, for love, for laughter, and for support when life becomes difficult or challenging.

The Board promotes the full inclusion of people with developmental disabilities into their communities. The Board also believes in promoting quality of life and safety by enhancing relationships with friends, families, neighbors and fellow citizens, as these relationships occur in the community.

The lifespan approach is grounded in flexible, individualized support, and an understanding of the life stages experienced by all people from birth, through childhood, adulthood, and old age. The Board recognizes that the passage through life includes continuous transition and adaptation. While any person’s capacities and needs change through a lifetime, all people rely on their families and the larger community for their sense of belonging and identity.

The Board recognizes the strengths of all people with developmental disabilities and their families, from all races, ethnicities, cultures, and socioeconomic circumstances. The goal of diversity is to support individuals and their families in a culturally competent manner, which is responsive to their beliefs, interpersonal styles, attitudes, language and behaviors, and ensures effective and meaningful opportunities for full participation in their communities.