The Best Mistake We Ever Made:
Julia Miller is a student, a gardener, a paper crafter, a community volunteer. She has goals for her life and is committed to pursuing them. She wants to be able to make her own decisions based on what is important to her. Julia learned this independence from being fully included from preschool through high school, where she earned an academic diploma, and a Certificate of Merit in both semesters of Modern World History. Her motto is, “People should see me as a person, not a disability.”
When it came time for Julia to decide what she wanted to do after graduation, she chose a traditional day program with a mix of job training and social activities. But due to an administrative difficulty, the program she wanted no longer had space for her, and Julia was left with no plan, and a looming deadline. Her CCS suggested that to preserve Julia’s funding eligibility, she should choose self-directed services. So although self-direction was not her first choice, it was the best accident that ever happened to Julia.
In self-direction, Julia actively participates in writing and updating her Person-Centered Plan (PCP). She is thrilled that there is a team that sees her as a person first, respects her decisions, and views her goals as worthwhile. Julia has designed her program around several interests, including starting a paper crafting business, learning to garden, maintaining physical fitness, and taking noncredit online literature classes. She has a thriving vegetable garden, made custom bookmarks and treat boxes for two community events, and works out three times a week. Julia delights in documenting her progress and sharing her achievements with her team.
When people ask Julia about why she likes being in self-direction, she will tell you: “Self-direction lets me choose my goals and do my dreams. I am a person, not a disability.”