When Tina Goldstone talks about her daughter, Daniela, it is obvious she is a proud parent. “She is an amazing young woman who has fought her entire life to become independent. She has overcome so many challenges.”
Daniela has autism and an intellectual disability, but this doesn’t stop her from finding ways to be independent. Tina did everything she could to help Daniela grow into the person she is today—a 31-year-old self-advocate who stays active and enjoys life.
Daniela’s story starts on the other side of the world. She was born in Romania and adopted from an orphanage when she was only 15 months old. “Daniela’s early development was extremely delayed,” shared Tina.
Nowadays, life looks much different. Daniela lives in Wisconsin among friends in an independent living community and manages her own finances with an ABLEnow account. While Wisconsin doesn’t offer a state-administered ABLE program, Daniela opened an ABLE account as soon as the national ABLEnow program became available.
Financial independence is one of the ways Daniela puts self-advocacy into practice.
“Before the pandemic, I liked going out to eat and to the movies. I loved participating in Special Olympics,” Daniela said. She also worked and saved her earnings. The ABLEnow Card allowed Daniela to pay for work uniforms, transportation and her phone.
Her ABLEnow savings is especially important while she is unable to work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Because I saved my money in my account, I can still buy things that I need,” she said.
Besides day-to-day expenses, Daniela has bigger goals in mind. She can’t wait for the pandemic to end so that she can plan two trips—one to Walt Disney World and one to Romania to visit her birth brother.
Daniela appreciates how easy it is to access funds in her ABLEnow account to take care of current expenses or prepare for future goals.
The fact that ABLEnow can be managed online makes her feel even more independent, and Daniela wants to maintain every bit of independence she has gained over the years.
Tina and Daniela Goldstone are compensated representatives for the ABLEnow program. Their experience may not be representative of other account owners.