Updated: Jan 13, 2021
By: Darrell Wahl
1) Tell us about yourself.
My name is Darrell Wahl. I was born on August 17, 1949 in Harvey, North Dakota. I was diagnosed with Stage III Cerebral Palsy at childbirth and my disability affects my mobility.
2.) What is the story of your disability (how did it impact your life, relationships, and living situation)?
At age 13, I was admitted to Grafton State School and lived there 12 years. In 1975, the school began releasing people with disabilities that could live independently. Afterwards, I moved to Grand Forks and lived in a group home as I developed the independent living skills needed to transition into the community.
When I was young, I used to view my disability as an obstacle. However, I now live my life with a more positive attitude because my disability is just part of who I am. My disability has allowed me to connect with other people with disabilities and develop lasting friendships.
3.) What are some of the barriers you have overcome and are proudest of?
Some of the achievements I am proudest of include living independently in my own home for the past 42 years and cooking meals at home. I am also an active member on several boards throughout the state of North Dakota. I currently serve on the board of the North Dakota State Council on Developmental Disabilities, the Tenant Association at Milton Young Towers and I am the Board Vice-President of Self-Advocacy Solutions.
4.) How has Independence, Inc. benefited your life?
The services offered by this organization have been off the charts. Independence, Inc. has assisted me in improving my independence. I would not be on the state board today without the assistance of Independence, Inc. They are the ones that really supported me throughout the application process.
5.) What message would you like to send to other people with disabilities?
Don't be scared to get some assistance if you need it because it will enrich your life. Don't give up on your goals and aspirations because you have a disability. You can still achieve great things in your life despite the barriers you will overcome.