Learning to Self Advocate

Al, who has autism loves being out in the community.

Adult life is so much more joyous!  Our son has started his second year in the Self Directed Services program of DDA and it has been an unexpectedly wonderful experience. He is learning to advocate for himself by choosing activities that are meaningful to him everyday rather than being told where to go and what to do.  He is independently making daily activity decisions and is finally able to enjoy life in the community. As a result, the activities he enjoys have expanded exponentially.  His happiness has increased as his ability to communicate his desires and direct how he spends a large portion of his day has expanded. This has resulted in a diminished anxiety level as his life has become more enriched.


Al loves to be out and about…he is a mover and a doer and dislikes sitting at a desk or table.  SDS allows him to determine how he wishes to live (one of DDA’s four focus areas) and to choose the activities that make his days and life personally more meaningful.


The happiness on his face as he explores Patapsco Park, the Zoo, the Aquarium, the B & O museum, Fort McHenry, and many other places personally reflects the value of his SDS program. As he is getting better at sitting at in restaurants or waiting in line for a desired activity, the number and variety of places to discover are providing new opportunities everyday.