Welcome to the Dependence to Independence website.

The aim of this website is to support and promote independence, dignity and enhanced quality of life for people with disabilities and others with limited mobility in Ireland.

My name is Garry Toner and I want to share this short synopsis of my life from Dependence to Independence.

I have used a wheelchair my entire live due to my condition which is Spinal Muscular Atrophy. I was brought up at home living with my parents, I received home tuition for my school years. Thereafter, because of the lack of accessibility and educational opportunities there was a gap in my life which basically meant staying at home. An opportunity came along to attend University which changed my life forever in a positive manner. I went on to gain a degree and then decided to move from home and do a Master’s Degree in Dublin.

Independent living became a reality for me as I had to leave the comfort and security of being at home to this new and challenging world. It was difficult at times particularly getting Personal Assistant (PA) hours and finding suitable workers. However, I managed this and completed my Masters and then became employed as a Disability Officer in a third level Institute in Dublin.

Dublin has now become my home and I have PA hours provided by the Irish health service. I have a team of 4 PAs who assist me in my daily living which allows me to be independent and equal in society.

I would encourage anyone else to try and become as independent as possible. It is always possible to achieve goals that you may consider impossible. The moral of this is “if I can do it you can as well”.

If I can help you with any aspect of independent living, please do not hesitate to contact me: garrytoner@gmail.com

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