Michelle always wanted her daughter to be more independent. With self-direction, she has seen real improvement.

​Gaining More Independence and Self-Esteem Through Self-Direction

Sofia | February 23, 2018 | Self-Direction Client

There’s an upside and a downside to self-directed supports (SDS), Michelle says joking. Her daughter Sofia, 33 has been self-directing some of her services in the Family Care program for more than 2 years.

“The upside is that she is more like an adult,” Michelle continues laughing. “But then, she tells me all the time, ‘I’m an adult.’”

Michelle always wanted her daughter to be more independent and with self-direction she has seen real improvement in that area.

“Self-directing has helped Sofia gain more independence, more self-esteem, and be more like her peers,” Michelle says.

Sofia has also seen an improvement in her moods and is able to be more self-reflective when she gets angry or upset about something. She also has improved her decision making skills since working with her SDS worker, Kris, who helps take her to appointments and to Special Olympics, and grocery shopping.

Sofia also uses supported employment and cleans rooms at a local hotel while Kris helps. In the beginning of her employment, Kris provided more assistance, but Sofia does most everything by herself now. Kris does a once over of the room looking for anything that Sofia may have missed.

Sofia can see a change in herself too. She says she even makes the beds now, which is a hard job, but feels like an accomplishment when it’s done.

“I don’t need as much help anymore,” Sofia says.

Before working with Kris she worked at a supported employment facility, but found the schedule to be too inflexible. Now working with Kris every day, they are able to get to know each other better and Kris is able to learn Sofia’s personality and triggers. If Sofia gets upset, Kris knows it doesn’t do any good to push back.

“I just go to the lobby for a few minutes and have a drink of water and breathe,” she says. “When I come back, Sofia will apologize.”

Sofia chose Kris to be her employee because they knew each other before they began working together, but the two have become closer since then. “It’s more like hanging out,” Kris says.

Michelle says that others should try SDS if they are thinking about it.

“I was nervous at first. I was afraid it was going to be more work, but it’s not,” she says. “It has given Sofia more of a normal life.”

Sofia agrees, ““I have a life now.”