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GT Community: Blake and Debbie of Michigan

August 2, 2023

GT Community: Blake and Debbie of Michigan

We value making space for the people we serve to tell their own stories. This is the story of Blake and his mother, Debbie, of Michigan. He started self-directing with GT in 2005. In this post, you can hear about his experience in his own words.

Meet Blake

Blake lives with his mom, Debbie, in a small town in mid-Michigan. He loves to play video games, especially his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade. He also enjoys bowling, both at the local alley and on his Nintendo Wii. Blake is a supporter of Ferris State University’s hockey team and likes attending their games.

Blake’s Disabilities

When Blake was 2 years old, he had a very severe case of bacterial spinal meningitis. It resulted in him having a stroke and going into a coma for 16 days.

Blake has multiple disabilities, including autism spectrum disorder. Autism is a developmental disorder that affects the brain. People with autism can struggle with social skills and learning. They may also show repetitive interests or behaviors. But because autism occurs on a spectrum, it’s appearance can vary between every person who has it.

Some of Blake’s other disabilities include a left-sided hemiparesis, sensory integration deficit, and intractable seizure disorder. He is also a hearing aid user due to damage to his hearing from meningitis.

How Self-Direction Helps Blake

Because of his disabilities, Debbie says, “Blake is not group home material.” Thankfully, because of self-direction, Blake is able to live with his mother.

At home, Blake is able to work on various skills. He has tasks including setting the table, helping with laundry, and taking care of the trash. And with help from his staff, Blake is able to have a job in the community.

The rest of us get to decide if we want to take three showers a day. So why should a person with a disability not get to have that freedom also?


Learn More About How GT Independence Can Help You

With self-direction, you have the right to live the life you choose—regardless of age or ability—in your own home or community. At GT Independence, our job is to help make self-direction easy.