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Featured Stories from the My Story Matters Campaign

My Story Matters

My Story Matters is a new campaign, launched on March 1, 2024 during Developmental Disabilities (DD) Awareness Month, by the North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities (NCCDD) to learn about North Carolinians with intellectual and other developmental disabilities (I/DD) across the state and the issues that are important to them.

Your story is important! Your story is also a form of advocacy. Sharing your story with us can help us advocate together with key decision makers, lawmakers, and people who can help us make life better for people with I/DD like you in North Carolina.

Read some of the stories shared with us from individuals with I/DD and their families throughout North Carolina. 

Want to share your story? Please do! Learn more on how to submit your story here! Information and forms are available in English and Spanish.


justin bertelsen frameJustin from Mooresville, NC

I am a 39-year-old man who likes to go places to have fun and go out to eat. My job shredding paper is important to me. I like to go to music therapy. Recently I joined the Able & Ready Exchange Club to volunteer in my town. 

As a person with intellectual disabilities and autism, it is important that I have as much independence as possible.

The Innovations Waiver program provides my staff so that I can go to work and do the things I want to do. It is hard to find staff.

I wish there was a way for me to live in a house not with my parents, but there is nothing available in my county. 

Generic Graphic for No PictureLucas from High Point, NC 

Hello my name is Lucas. I have autism and ADHD. I was diagnosed with autism when I was four years old. What is important for me is for people to get to know me better before they assume any stereotypes about my disability. I really like music, especially rock, hip hop, and metal. I enjoy working out and getting some form of physical activity. I also like being in nature as well. I enjoy being with myself but also be around my circle and my friends. I enjoy being myself and expressing myself.

As someone who has an intellectual disability, I think it is very important to set boundaries because I have a harder time to read cues, so someone telling me that they don't like something that I do will help me to adapt but also give me a voice as well to express my needs.

I also think there should be more chances for someone with either an intellectual or developmental disability to have jobs and careers like others without them.

Another big thing that has helped me to succeed is to have a support system. I am currently in a post-secondary program. At first I was nervous and was closed off but ever since I have opened up and given myself a chance. It has helped me a lot. Finding people that love and care about you and also accept other people for who they are.

Laura Brana and her familyParents Andrew and Laura (back) with their children Caroline and Dillon (front)Laura, on behalf on her son Dillon from Chapel Hill, NC 

I am a parent/mother of a young man on the autism spectrum. Real supported community living for my adult son is most important to me. If he is supported consistently, then he can enjoy part-time employment, volunteering, attending adapted recreation events/programs, learning to cook, swimming, hiking, playing tennis, and eating out in the community.

Helping my adult son become more independent is top priority. He will only achieve this with consistent Direct Support Professional (DSP) support, employment coaching, Medicaid, SSI (Social Security Income), and affordable housing. There needs to be more advocacy in the areas of inclusive employment with universal designs, higher wages for DSP's to insure less turnover, reduced rent and affordable housing opportunities for adults with intellectual and other developmental disabilities (I/DD), etc. The more support we have, the less costly in the long run for the state of NC.



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North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities

Office Hours: 9AM-4PM Monday-Friday
1-800-357-6916 (Toll Free)
984-920-8200 (Office/TTY)
984-920-8201 (Fax)
This project was supported, in part by grant number 2001NCSCDD-02, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects with government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official ACL policy.

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