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GT Community: Eden and Her Family of California

October 13, 2023

GT Community: Eden and Her Family of California

We value making space for the people we serve to tell their own stories. This is the story of Eden, along with her family, in California. She started self-directing with GT in 2021. In this post, you can hear about her experience in her own words.

Meet Eden and Her Family

Eden is a young adult who lives in California with her parents, Cliff and Linda. She and her older brother, Aaron, grew up playing music together. Religion is very important to their family, and they attend Chinese Community Church of South Bay. Eden takes piano, guitar, American Sign Language, and bowling lessons. She also enjoys being in the kitchen, and has spent many evenings making meals for the family with her dad.

In 2016, Eden co-founded UpVoice, which is a book club to help people learn to read and advocate for themselves. She spoke at the 2020 National Down Syndrome Society Adult Summit, and has led workshops at several National Down Syndrome Congress conventions. She also won the title of California Miss Amazing in 2018. Her love of cooking has led her to attend Shepherds College, where she is majoring in culinary arts.

Eden’s Care Needs

Eden was born with Down syndrome. It is a genetic disorder that happens when someone is born with an extra copy of chromosome 21. Every year, about 1 in every 700 babies in the U.S. is born with Down syndrome. It affects physical, cognitive, and behavioral characteristics.

Every person with Down syndrome is unique in their care needs. Eden is very independent and can do many things on her own. However, she needs direction from her parents or another trusted support person much of the time.

How Self-Direction Helps Eden

Eden is able to live with her parents because of self-direction (called self-determination in California). With their help, Eden can interview, hire, and manage her support staff. This gives Linda and Cliff peace of mind that their daughter is safe and cared for. And it helps Eden to achieve her dreams of working in the culinary world.

One of the supports Eden receives through the self-determination program in California is a spending plan. She and her family are able to use their allocated funds how they best see fit. This authority over their budget allows them to adapt services to meet Eden’s needs.

I think it’s really cool that Eden is able to have a lot more agency and input on the resources she gets nowadays.

Aaron, Eden’s brother

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.