Guest Blog

The Direction of Self-Determination*

26 Apr 2018 by Diana Lynn Mairose

I was on the Ohio Self-Determination board for 8 years. I was the first person with a disability to be president of this organization. I worked myself up to hold this position.  Self-Determination is very important to me - both at work and in the community.

Self-Determination is something you learn

from mentors, family and friends who support you.

Self–Determination is not a program. It is a way of life. Self–Determination is something you learn from mentors, family and friends who support you. There are few books that have history and knowledge on the subject. The books I have read are about programs and lesson plans on how to teach Self-Determination.

We need to educate and encourage others by telling their story.

I have many thoughts about where Self-Determination comes from. For me, it comes from the heart while having the right people to help you in your life. It is about believing in yourself and the importance of goal-setting.  Why is this important? Because we need to educate and encourage others by telling their story from beginning to end.

Finding our voice or talent

is something we all need to do.

There are many stories of people with disabilities about how they survived the odds and won. Those stories are to give us a picture of their life about working through struggles and gaining hope. What it does not do is to teach all generations of what Self–Determination is. It is about choices in life through conversations and technology and community.

I encourage advocates to write or create art on this issue. Finding our voice or talent is something we all need to do in our chapter of life. Let us do so, by breaking barriers so that we can find voices and ways of connecting together towards Self–Determination. 

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*Editor's Note:   "People with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities have the same right to self-determination as all people and must have the freedom, authority, and support to exercise control over their lives." - The Arc. The Arc is the largest national community-based organization advocating for and serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Read The Arc's Self-Determination Position Statement here                                                        


Diana Mairose

Diana Mairose is a voting rights advocate who works as an Advocacy Support Adviser for Hamilton County Developmental Disabilities Services.