I am most commonly asked to speak to parents and professionals or college students interested in working in fields where they will likely serve children and adolescents with disabilities. Audiences typically ask to hear about my personal experiences living with disability. I try to make my speaking engagements very personal because I want to leave audiences with an inside look of what living with disability can really be like. I think many times, audiences have the opportunity to hear from parents or providers working with people with disabilities, but rarely the individuals themselves. I think if more people had the opportunity to hear firsthand from those with disabilities, it might help make them more open minded about their capabilities.
Some questions I am frequently asked:
- How old were you when you were diagnosed with autism?
Mid-Teens to early adulthood
- What does your service dog Lucy help with?
Lucy is trained to assist with navigation due to severe difficulty with visual spatial orientation as well as balance assistance.
- Do you have certain environments you struggle in from a sensory perspective?
Yes, I really don’t like loud, crowded environments, but have learned to tolerate them.
- What accommodations did you receive in school, if any?
I did receive accommodations in school and had an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) K-12 due to a severe math learning disability. I also received special education services along with being in the general education classroom. Some of the accommodations I received included:
- Pulled out of the general education classroom for math in a smaller, special education environment K-12
- Use of calculator for math tests
- Scribe for essay tests
- Extended time on testing
- Tests in separate distraction free room
- High school: Note taker in class
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