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Meet James

My name is James and I’m 32 years old. I have been Self-Directing since 2014.  Currently living with a non-cancerous brain tumor, I’m a living miracle. Self-Direction has given me the freedom to do the things that interest me, and provides staff to help me with the things I couldn’t do on my own, such as cooking, shopping and shaving. I still need help but I am much more independent.   An employee of Trader Joes for over ten years, Self-Direction gave me the ability to travel to work on my own. This is such an important part of my life because if my staff don’t show up, I have no way of getting to work. My mother was very nervous about this but she was so confident in our support staff, Mike. He worked on independent travel in small increments until I was able to do it on my own. There were so many steps such as scheduling, crossing a busy intersection, buying tickets in advance and especially what would happen if the bus took a detour. love to ride horses, take walks and go to the movies with my friends.  One thing I don’t care for is when staff want me to do things that they want to do. Self-Direction is about me learning and growing from activities and experiences.  So, it’s important to speak for yourself, have a plan and work with your staff. The plan is about your goals and your desired outcomes. If you are uncomfortable, speak to your parent or the person directly.


A key event in my life

A key event in my life was being in the Rose Bowl Parade in California on the Trader Joes float. I have worked at Trader Joes for over 10 years.

My favorite recreation

My favorite recreational activity is riding horses. I have been riding horses for 14 years and I now ride at Thomas’ School of Horsemanship in Melville.

My latest accomplishment

My latest accomplishment is giving a speech as the President of Long Island Voices.

One thing most people do not know about me

One thing most people don’t know about me is that I am living with a brain tumor and I am a living miracle. The tumor is not cancerous.

What does Self-Direction mean to me?

Self-Direction means that I can learn skills to be more independent at home and in the community.

Where do you see yourself in the future?

In the future I see myself in my own apartment with a girlfriend and a cat.


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