On November 21 our member Caroline Signore shared her experience with self-directing her supports as a disabled, tetraplegic woman. Caroline shared tips and advice to share about managing a team of support staff/caregivers, building friendships and natural supports, and balancing a demanding career. She was also recently featured in our self-direction spotlight, which you can read on our website.

About Caroline:

Caroline is Deputy Director of the Division of Extramural Research, at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). In 1996, Caroline Signore had just finished her residency training in obstetrics and gynecology and entered a private practice in the Denver suburbs when she sustained a cervical spinal cord injury in a motor vehicle accident. It was the day after Thanksgiving, and she was 30 years old. Her injury is at the C6-C7 level, which means she is tetraplegic: she has no sensation or motor function of the legs and torso, and limited sensation and function of her arms and hands. She completed inpatient rehabilitation in April of 1997 and since that time has brought in personal care assistants to help with activities of daily living.

She has enjoyed the good fortune of independently employing a group of 3 caregivers who have been with her steadily for more than 15 years. Caroline works full time and lives independently in the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington DC.