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Author, activist and Alliance member Owen Daughtry is living proof that when people with disabilities can access the supports they need to live the life they choose, the lives they lead can be extraordinary.
Daughtry lives with cerebral palsy, which affects a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture. He receives NC Innovations Waiver services and care management from Alliance Health.
Daughtry directs his own care and services through the Employer of Record (EOR) model, which allows the participant or their legally responsible person to essentially operate as the provider, hiring and supervising staff and running their own goal plans. Owen is his own guardian and serves as EOR, deciding how, when and from whom his services and supports will be delivered.
The NC Innovations Waiver has helped him make home modifications such as a platform ramp and a track system on his ceiling to help with transfers, and he is planning a fully handicap-accessible kitchen within the next year.
When he was 13 years old, Owen wrote the book “Different but Special” to tell other kids about his life with cerebral palsy and help them know that they can be happy and life can be fun. The book was the first story featured in the Story Walk at the Partnership for Children Park in Smithfield, and Daughtry said much of the book’s proceeds went toward making the accessible park a reality. A second Story Walk featuring his book has been built in Johnston County and a third is being planned for the near future.
Daughtry recently wrote an article about the Story Walks for the North Carolina Recreation and Park Association’s RECRE8 North Carolina Magazine.
Daughtry, a Johnston County native, is chair of the Partnership for Children’s park committee and advocates for people with disabilities and legislation regarding inclusiveness of parks throughout the state. He also recently helped start a support group for kids and families with disabilities. “I’m really passionate about everything that we do at the partnership and how inclusive we are,” he said.
Daughtry said he is writing another book that picks up where his first one left off. He said that many parents he meets who have kids with disabilities wonder about things like whether their kids will be able graduate high school and college. “I kind of go through my experiences, because I graduated from high school and college,” he said. “So you know, it’s just kind of easing parents minds about what we can and can’t do as disabled individuals.”
When he’s not writing, advocating, helping build parks and directing his care, Daughtry enjoys fishing, hunting, playing video games, reading and visiting with his family, who all live nearby on the same road.