Institute on Disabilities at Temple University

Policy > Person Directed Services > Stories

Joanne Wagner's Story

What are some of the things you enjoy about directing your own services and supports?
I support my sister who is non verbal with limited communication skills. She began directing her services about two years ago, after having lived in a lifeshare situation for many years. She now has her own place she shares with another sister, whom is also an employee, and she has other staff that come in to help as well.

Tell us about a time when you and your support service professional (SSP) tried something new in your community. Where did you go? What did you do? What did you like about this activity? How did your SSP support you in this new adventure?
She especially seems to enjoy her very active community life as well as doing her own food shopping. Andi likes to go to community dances at local churches and fire halls. She also really enjoys movies, live theater, museums, and going out to eat. Staff accompany her to ensure health and safety in all situations. Andi has met many new people in her community and has developed relationships with her staff's assistance.

Is there anything you think is hard or challenging about directing your own services and supports? Tell us about a time that you faced a challenge with your support staff and how you worked through this challenge.
The limited choice of support agencies has been very challenging. Also, there was much access to support when placed with an agency residential program then she received or can access directing her own services. The people who are supporting her did not have access to support or information and were not given information upfront; even when asked, not all available resources/programs were disclosed. Program is very rigid and not conducive to the actual situation or individualized services too often. Too much time is spent trying to meet requirements and regulations that do not in any way improve the quality of services being provided.

Directing my own services and supports is important to me because...
"It allows me to be with my family and in my own home. I can go where I want, when I want and I am a lot more active in the community. I make my own choices more often and do my own shopping."


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This project is supported by a grant from the Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council; in part by grant 1901PASCDD-02, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects with government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official ACL policy.





Institute on Disabilities at Temple University
University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research and Service