August 23, 2023
GT Community: Justice, Weller, and Lareka of California
We value making space for the people we serve to tell their own stories. This is the story of Justice and his parents, Weller and Lareka, of California. He started self-directing with GT in 2020. In this post, you can hear about his experience in his own words.
Justice lives with his parents, Weller and Lareka, in California. He is your typical teenager who enjoys swimming, taking acting classes, and hanging out with his friends. But he’s also a student, author, and public speaker. His first book of poetry, titled What’s J Say?, was published in 2022. He hopes to go to college for public speaking so he can become an even better advocate for himself and others. In his own words, “I’m a very busy man.”
Justice has 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. For example, Justice’s reading and writing are advanced for his grade level.
He is also non-speaking, but that doesn’t mean he can’t communicate. By using a tablet and a program called Prologue 2Go, Justice can type out what he wants to say. The device then gives a voice output to his written thoughts and feelings.
How Self-Direction Helps Justice
The Killebrew family moved from Louisville, Kentucky to California. Their relocation has dramatically improved Justice’s life. Previously, they felt like the services offered were a one-size-fits-all deal. But with the self-determination program in California, services are tailored to meet his specific interests and needs. Together, Justice and his family are able to fine-tune his care and set achievable goals.
Justice is determined to be his own person and not let his diagnosis be a limitation. His self-advocacy shows others that people with autism can both have, and achieve, their dreams.
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.