A family-based organization for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities

How Guardianship and SDM Can Coexist

Wednesday, November 2, 2:30 p.m. - 3:45 p.m.

View the session here.

Notes from session:

CTL Exploring Decision Making Supports here.

Panel members:

  • Patricia Paduano, Member of Guardianship Committee, Saratoga Bridges, and SDM facilitator
  • Samantha Bardwell, Albany Law School Class 2022, and Disability Law Research Fellow
  • Michele Juda, Executive Director Parent to Parent of NYS
  • Devon Juda, Self-Advocate, SDM Decision-Maker
  • Haldan M. Blecher, Senior Attorney, Office of Counsel – Bureau of Service Delivery NYS OPWDD


About Patricia Paduano:


Patricia Paduano, received her  MA in Community Psychology from Sage Graduate School, previous Director of Family Support Services and Guardianship Coordinator for 34 years for Saratoga Bridges. Graduate of the 2013 Leadership Saratoga program sponsored by the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce. Facilitator for Supported Decision-Making NY. Currently semi-retired conducting investigations and staff training for Saratoga Bridges and a member of the Guardianship Committee and a volunteer for the Northeast Regional Food Bank.

About Samantha Bardwell:


Samantha Bardwell is Albany Law School’s 2022 Sandman Fellow, a third-year law student, and the proud older sister of two disabled siblings.  Her fellowship research focuses on medical decision-making by and for adults with severe intellectual disabilities and she plans to continue to advocate for this population after she graduates in December.

About Michele Juda:


Michele Juda in addition to being Executive Director of Parent to Parent of NYS, Michele Juda is the proud parent of two boys. Her youngest son Devon was adopted from foster care and has a developmental disability and history of complex medical needs (all shared with permission.) After years of advocating for Devon in various health, education, and community-based service systems, Michele and Devon are now navigating post-secondary transition during the COVID-19 pandemic together. A proud 2020 graduate with a hard-earned local diploma and Supported Decision Making Agreement in place, Devon now sees himself as a Decision Maker and is attending a residential transitions program with the goal of competitive employment and long-term supported apartment living. Michele has added a new title as well, that of Supporter, and is acclimating to her new role.

About Devon Juda:


Devon Juda first heard about Supported Decision Making from his parents, who are from Ballston Spa, NY. He attended an information session and learned that Supported Decision Making is a process that lets him find the people in his life that he believes can help him make the best decisions and that, most importantly, he can make those decisions for himself. Devon’s participation with both Supported Decision Making and Lexington ARC’s Transitions program has taught him a lot about how to make decisions and how to get help when he needs it. Devon is especially proud of some of his recent decisions which include enrolling at Schenectady County Community College’s culinary program and moving into an apartment in Albany, NY with supports for more independent living. Devon says: “It really feels like I belong in Albany and at SCCC. Living in Albany has helped me to make my own decisions without people trying to make them for me.”

About Haldan M. Blecher:


Haldan Michael Blecher is a Senior Attorney at the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) in the Bureau of Service Compliance and Fair Hearings.  His work is primarily focused on the individual rights of people with developmental disabilities, including developing regulations, guidance, and policy in the areas of decision-making, consent, guardianship, community placement procedures, behavioral interventions, religious liberties, medical orders for life sustaining treatment, and privacy.  He is a graduate of The City College of New York and City University of New York School of Law, and began his career in public service as a New York State Excelsior Service Fellow.  Haldan was the principal author of New York’s Supported Decision Making Act, which will become Article 82 of the Mental Hygiene Law upon adoption of associated OPWDD regulations.