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John's Story
John receives services through Missouri's Self-Directed program as offered by the Division of Developmental Disabilities. This program has opened many opportunities for John and has improved the quality of life for the entire family.

Through this program, John and his family now are involved in selecting the individuals who will work with him and the activities in which he participates. John and his family are also involved in the training of staff which both satisfies state requirements and is uniquely designed to fit his personal needs. Staff is paid through a fiscal intermediary. John and his family are responsible for assuring that hours reported by staff are accurate and that a daily summary of activities is maintained.

This program allows John and his family to make all decisions regarding his daily activities. John decides what he will do on a given day. While there are assurances for the family, John decides when and where he will eat and makes his own menu decisions. He chooses what he will do on a given day.

On a typical day, John will prepare his own breakfast. He will complete such chores as making his bed and feeding his pets. He and his Personal Assistant then go to exercise. On most days he and staff will go to the local YMCA where he independently uses the various machines. On other days he will choose to walk in the park or at the local school track.

Most days he will return home for lunch, but often he and staff will go somewhere different to eat. Once or twice a month John will invite other people to meet him at a local restaurant (normally Pizza Hut, one of his favorites) for lunch. John will often pay for lunch-normally using gift cards he has received during the holidays or for his birthday.

In the afternoon, John enjoys relaxing. He will sometimes play Nintendo on his own. On other days, he and his staff person will watch a movie or play games. John has become very adept at playing a number of board and card games.

During the summer months, John enjoys horseback riding at Dream Catchers, the local equine therapy program. Again, he made great progress through the assistance of program personnel with encouragement from his staff and family. He quickly went from being afraid of horses to now riding independently.
John works part-time at the local Wal-Mart where he stocks and straightens shelves, or returns un-purchased items to the shelf. He very much enjoys his job and never misses work on the days he is assigned. Either staff or his family provides transportation to and from work.

In the evenings, John enjoys playing cards and board games with his family. They go out to eat as a family once or twice a week. John is involved in selecting where they will go and makes his own menu decisions. He also has a girl friend who he met at summer camp. She lives in another city, and John's parents and her parents assure that they get together once a month for dinner or other activity, including visiting one another's family homes.

John very much enjoys his independence. He and staff work on domestic skills which will allow him to be successful when he eventually has a home of his own. He wants "his own place" someday and is beginning to look at "for sale" signs as he travels about the community. In the meantime, he is very happy doing the things he enjoys and directing staff on how they can accommodate his desires.