There are many ways to be independent. You can start by planning out your day, this is something I do daily to be more productive. I have a self-determination plan called “My Choice.” I have a circle of support which is made up of family and friends that get together and brainstorm ideas for me like attending college and places to volunteer. Because they are not directly involved in my work, a lot of my plan revolves around college, notetaking and studying. They help me work on familiarizing my speeches and take me to where the speech is being held. In my free time, I like to go to the movies and hang out with my friends. Self-determination is just that, you determine what you would like to do. It is different for each person, it could be volunteering, cooking, cleaning or any other activity.

Another way to become independent is to learn how to take your medication by yourself. When I was a young girl, my parents had to give me my medicine. When I went to the dentist, I had to take large amounts of medicine that I didn’t like taking. I like applesauce and ice cream so she would hide it in my medicine and I would unknowingly take my medicine. It wasn’t until I was in my late teens and early 20’s that I started self-medicating. It started out with my mom phone ordering them to the drug store and me going to pick them up. She helped me get into the habit of calling them in myself.

When I first started, I stuck to a routine of separating them by day, morning, afternoon and evening. Now that I am very familiar with them by name and color, I just take them from the bottles each day. I have an inhaler that I also take as needed. It is very important when I am traveling that I carry all my medicine and take them accordingly. I have to ensure my medicine is filled at all times to prevent me from missing a day. I feel like self-medicating is a huge sign of independence that plays into self-determination. I am proud of my determination to stay independent.