September 24, 2014 2:16 pm Published by Danielle Lazzara
When I was younger I would throw temper tantrums and rebel when things would not go my way. I also had a number of anxieties and overcoming them was difficult for me. These were some of the ways I communicated to people as well my peers. Whenever I felt a certain emotion I had a challenging time expressing them, because of those things I was envious of my peers.
Often if I contacted someone and they would not return my call I would worry excessively and contact them over and over until I would hear back from them. Also when I would do something wrong by acting impulsively I would lie or mislead people to try to get myself out of trouble. At this stage in my life I need prompting to remember to do things. Routines have become very important for me.
Having mentors and other peers in my life that set great examples have been beneficial to my growth. If I could advise anyone, I would say to effectively communicate with people, learning self-awareness is key. Self awareness is important for setting boundaries and making your needs known. Setting boundaries also allowed me to see that I needed patience in all situations.
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January 31, 2014 9:34 am Published by Danielle Lazzara
Danielle Lazzara serves as the Development Assistant in QSAC’s Development Department. In her role, she makes calls to parents and supporters about upcoming QSAC events. In addition, Ms. Lazzara works closely with QSAC’s special events team on soliciting items for our annual silent auction. As a woman on the autism spectrum, she is an active self-advocate for the autism community having presented at an array of community-based events including QSAC’s Bridges to Transition on April 2, 2014.
Hello! My name is Danielle and I am an intern at QSAC’s headquarters in New York City in the Development Department. As a woman on the autism spectrum, I have overcome many things in my life and I am currently involved in getting a Consolidated Self-Directed Services plan through the Office of People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD). When I first graduated from high school, the thought of living alone never crossed my mind. I was living with my family and longed for more independence, but knew I would need help and resources from others. On my own, I worked with lawyers and self-advocates to establish my Social Security and Medicaid eligibility and researched and selected an appropriate supportive living situation. I learned about my rights and responsibilities as a person with autism.
After many years of living arrangements that were not ideal for me, I finally found something that was almost perfect for me: my own apartment in a nice neighborhood working with staff I liked. I had independence and financial freedom. After a few years of inconsistent staff and some frustration, I have decided to pursue a Consolidated Self-Directed Services plan so I can have more say in my everyday life. With this new plan, I will have the freedom to select my own support staff and choose how I spend my time and money.
Twenty years ago, this type of decision would not have been possible because these types of independent living services did not exist. I am very grateful that I have this decision to make. People with disabilities have choices and can make their own decisions! Even the wrong ones! Find out what services are appropriate and available for you or your loved one, because everyone deserves a fair shot at a happy and fulfilling life.
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Danielle Lazzara is a lifelong New Yorker who is an actively involved self-advocate who works to ensure that individuals with disabilities know their rights and have access to supportive services. She is an intern in QSAC’s Development Department through the JobPath employment training program (ETP).