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Communication pictures and a hand touching a picture 'Watch TV".

Maximising Choice and Control

Diagram showing the 4 Essentials of Active Support, highlighting Maximising choice and control.
Maximising choice and control is the 3rd Essential of Active Support

Everyone has preferences. When a person chooses their preference they have greater control over their life.

Maximising choice and control means staff:

  • Offer more than one option to a person

  • Ensure the person understands the options 

  • Know how the person communicates their choice

  • Respect and acts on a person’s choice

  • Assist the person to have new experiences

This video explains maximising choice and control.

Communication is very important to choice. You can use:

  • Words: asking “Do you want dinner now or later?”

  • Signs or gestures: gesturing big and small to decide size of a piece of cake

  • Objects or pictures: showing different books for the person to choose which one to read

  • Videos to see what something is: watching Youtube videos of different places to visit

  • A combination of these: such as, showing pictures and asking questions 

Always try to offer more than one choice. 

  • Instead of asking, “Do you want a shower?’ 

  • Try asking, ‘Do you want a shower now or after breakfast?’ or “Do you want a shower or a bath”

Pay attention to how the person communicates choice. They may use:

  • Words or sounds

  • Touch

  • Pointing

  • Gestures

  • Signs

  • Eye gaze

  • Facial expression

  • Communication aides

  • Or a combination of these

You may need to:

  • Give the person time to communicate their choice

  • Check that you have understood their preference

  • Provide more information about the options

In this video, staff put Maximising Choice and Control into practice.



  1. How did the support workers provide opportunities to make choice?

  2. How did each person communicate their choice?

  3. Did each person have choice and exercise control?

Having options and making choices increases a person’s control over their life. Staff should offer many opportunities for a person to make choices during a day - what to do, when to do it, how to do it, who to do it with.


Communication skills are very important in supporting a person to understand the options they have. We come back to communication in module 6.


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