A Self-Determined Life: Davis’s Story
by Rick and Cheryl Wood, parents
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Our son Davis has a very rare chromosomal condition. He’s non-verbal, and has a lot of needs. Before Self-Determination, regional center supported us with diapers for our son. We had to get them from the vendored agency and they were of poor quality. We had respite vouchers, but we had to pay people close to minimum wage. Then we could bill once a month, and they would get paid three weeks later. We couldn’t retain people to do the work. We would have to go down to the regional center office and sit with them every time we wanted to do something different. We were so unhappy jumping through hoops to see what we qualified for.
Then, we were so lucky to be able to participate in the Kern Regional Center Self-Determination Pilot Project, which we remain in today. We sit down with the regional center once a year to approve our budget. The regional center used to spend $45,000/ year on Davis. Our first Self-Determination budget was 33% less, $30,000, but at the end of the year we returned $10,000 of that. The second year we spent $25,000. Yet within this budget we are able to arrange the supports we need. We can pay personal attendants enough to retain them, and they don’t have to wait a month to get paid. We could purchase brand name, quality diapers at Costco, for a quarter of the cost. Self-Determination has allowed us to try new things. Davis is part of our community. Everyone in town knows him. Self-Determination saved our family.