As an aspiring speech-language pathologist, I have had and will continue to have many personal experiences with individuals with disabilities. Ultimately, I strive for every individual to have a voice –
through whatever modality that may be. Currently, I serve as co-coordinator of The Life Club, a social interaction group for adults diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. I plan and lead activities and social outings for the group and have loved hearing how these adults have experienced life. One individual in the group questioned, “Those with disabilities often spend hours being taught how to interact with others, but why don’t we spend time teaching those without disabilities how to interact with them?” Additionally, my desire to become a leader and advocate for individuals with disabilities stems from my experience working with a child diagnosed with nonverbal autism, over the past two years. By watching him in his home environment, I have gotten to know the family very well and have witnessed the sacrifices they make and obstacles they have encountered such as obtaining appropriate services and sitters.
Ultimately, I believe LA LEND will offer me the opportunity to continue to educate myself about the daily obstacles people with disabilities face and advocate for better, more accessible treatment within the community. Overall, LA LEND will continue expanding my leadership skills, while molding me into a more complete and competent clinician. With aspirations to work with the neurodiverse community post-graduation, I am assured this opportunity will open my eyes to shortcomings within the healthcare community and will educate me on serving as a stronger advocate for my future clients.
There is an undeniable inequity of services, policies, and support afforded to individuals with disabilities and their families, and I would love to implement policies in my future career and advocate in the community to address these needs. Ultimately, I have a passion to listen to others’ personal experiences and challenges in order to provide assistance in any way possible.