My new life in my new apartment

Paul Alford shows the possibilities for decision-making and living an independent life in the community, available to people with disabilities with a positive attitude and support from helpful people.

Paul Alford
Paul believes strongly in a persons right to make their own choices. He is moving into his own apartment. He enlists the help of an independent brokerage service to help him spend his money wisely. He hopes others can do like he has.

My name is Paul Alford. I have worked for Inclusion Ireland for the last ten years as a self-advocate.  I believe in rights for all people with intellectual disabilities.  I believe all people should live as independently as possible and live the way they want to live.  It is very important for people to have the right support and choose the person they want to support them.  This does not happen for so many people with intellectual disabilities, and I want change to happen right now because it is taking too long.

People with disabilities should interview support staff.  Everyone should have a choice and pick their support in their life.

For so long people with disabilities have not had any power in their lives.  We have chosen where we live, who we live with and who supports us.  We have decisions made for us every day.  We want our decisions listened to and respected, taken on board.  A lot of people with disabilities are afraid to speak out because they will get into trouble with management, staff and parents.

I have been fighting to live my own life independently for a long time.  Now I am going to move into my new apartment and live on my own.  I am buying my own place so I will own it for the rest of my life.  I am leaving a disability service where I have lived for over thirty two years.

houseI have got support from a service called PossibilitiesPlus.  It is a broker service – it helps people get funding from the HSE and disability services, so I can employ a support worker.  They manage your money and pay your direct support worker.  It has taken me a very long time to make the move. I had meetings after meetings – it has been difficult.  My advice to people with a disability, their parents and families is to never give up! It is worth it in the end to keep fighting and get what you want in life.

I have a good circle of support that has helped me make this happen.  I want this to happen for other people, not just myself-  If I can make the move then other people can make the move also.  Sometimes family don’t want people to move from services and live a life of their own choice.  You have to keep fighting for what you want, and not what other people want you to do.

In life it’s your choice that matters.

Paul Alford is a staff member at Inclusion Ireland and a self-advocate. His focus is on independent living and decision-making for people with disabilities.