Dashiell Meier

Dashiell’s Story

Dashiell learned about alternatives to guardianship and supported decision- making when he was in high school. His parents talked to him about decision- making options. As a family, they decided they were not comfortable with conservatorship. Instead, Dashiell uses supported decision- making. He has power of attorney for financial and medical support. He is also considering working with a financial advisor to help with decisions about money. Dashiell makes his own decisions, but if he needs support with bigger decisions, his family, doctors, teachers, and friends help him. He shared: “I find my family very helpful to work with because I trust them. That is why I am doing group decision- making because it is a measure of trust, and I trust them, and they trust me to make decisions together.” Trust is very important to Dashiell.

Dashiell's Experiences

When Dashiell is alone and faced with a difficult situation, he contacts people in his trusted group of family members. He sometimes gets an uneasy feeling about making the right choice on his own, but his family reminds Dashiell that he can ask for help to make good decisions: “That is a true measure of what trust can do. I feel very proud and independent that my family trusts me and that I trust myself to make these decisions for myself.”

Dashiell’s Insights and Advice

“The most important thing to me is that I feel proud of myself because I know that I have the makings of greatness inside myself. I feel I can do things with my life because I can make the right decision for myself, and I have people who trust me to make these choices. I feel like I can go off into the world and succeed in life. Everyone wants to succeed. One of the universalities of succeeding is to ask for help and to be honest with your loved ones. The best communication is if you speak from your heart and tell trusted people how you feel. Share what you are struggling with as someone with a disability who struggles to fit in with the rest of society. We know we are different from everybody else, and we are happy for who we are.”

“As humans we were made to adapt and change how we see the world. Sometimes that is done in a negative light. I feel like people are starting to forget their human roots. That is why others are not understanding that we are all people, it is not a matter of having a disability or not. It feels that people with disabilities do not have the power to do things on their own because people assume that they cannot do things on their own. People make decisions for them without understanding how they see the world.”

Dashiell believes we should try to view others in a positive light and do it in a way that connects everyone together. This is all part of supported decision- making.

“My advice to anyone with disabilities is you may want to handle your life on your own and I understand where you are coming from, but it is okay to ask for help from your loved ones, because they trust you. You should trust yourself to make these decisions because everybody needs help, that is the bottom line, it is a universal concept.”

Dashiell says that nobody fully understands everything, and nobody should.

Left to right is Dashiell’s dad, brother, sister, himself, and mom.