Client looks to form self-advocacy group

Christa’s room is covered in Gerbera Daisy decorations as she talks about how excited she is to be participating in the Special Olympics for the second year in a row.

Christa was diagnosed with Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy at 7-months-old. Now 28, she lives in Rauch’s Supported Living housing Hawthorn Glen and has been living there since March 2014.

She said the accessibility of the house helps with her independence. There’s a roll-in shower chair, a hand-held sprayer, and an accessible kitchen, among other amenities that allow her and other clients to achieve independence.

Christa used to work for the ARC of Indiana as a self-advocate and is looking to start up a self-advocacy group in Hawthorn Glen to raise more awareness for accessibility and access.

“There are obstacles and challenges and there should be more awareness,” she said.

She said the Indianapolis area and other big cities tend to have groups. She’s looking to emulate that here.

“Me and my mother—she’s helping me to start a group of 20 or so people,” Christa said. “I want people from the neighborhood to be involved.”

Christa and her mother have been thinking of publicizing as a way to spread more awareness, possibly in the Rauch newsletter or local TV or radio stations. She also wants to have posters around the Rauch clubhouse facility in Hawthorn Glen and maybe around the community.

Christa is getting ready to go back to school to study human services, specifically case management, at Ivy Tech.

“I want to show that we can speak up for our own rights and beliefs and for what we believe is right for us. I believe we’re like any other person. We’ve got special issues we might need people to help us with, but we should be able to be our own person,” she said. “We are a person before we are someone with a disability.”


This post is from guest blogger Darian Eswine--an English and journalism major from Franklin College interning with Rauch this summer.