As many individuals with disabilities find, it is often difficult to discover a niche in this modern society that labels people as if they are soup cans or some such material.
I’m Erin, a college student with cerebral palsy.Though my CP is mild, I feel the social effects of it almost daily.Everything from the stares by ignorant people in the aisle of the grocery store to the frustrations of being nineteen years old and unable to drive as of right now seems to get to me.However, it’s always easier to focus on the negative when angered by an issue that can’t be controlled.I know, though, that I am blessed.I have walked since I was five-and-a-half years old, and despite the doctors telling my parents that I would never learn to walk, talk, read, write, or drive, I could spell my name by the age of two-and-a-half.I also was reading on a first grade level by the age of four.
My life has been spent with the mindset that I have to defy the so-called “standards” set by this cruelty of a modern society for individuals with extra challenges.So it takes me ten minutes to put both of my shoes on, my orthotics, and my socks.Are you going to tell me you’re sick ofwaiting on me to do something independently? I think not!
Throughout my life, there have been many special angels who have spent countless hours dedicated to encouraging, helping, and supporting me, and all the while, they have shown me what it means to care for and to advocate for individuals with disabilities.I have turned the demonstration into passion and into my life’s work and have advocated on behalf of and worked with children and young adults affected by disability for six years.I will be attending Georgia College and State University beginning in August to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Special Education.While attending GCSU, I will serve as the Vice President of Programming for ABLE Student Alliance, which is our organization for disability advocacy on campus. In the position, I will be responsible for organizing awareness activities for the campus community, disability awareness promotions, and providing necessary resources to students, faculty, and families.
Over the course of the nearly two years I have worked with the Georgia College family, there have been many instances in which I just know that the college is right for me. For example, the campus’ physical size is smaller than that of my high school and is the first college campus I have ever been able to walk completely independently, my dormitory is on main campus and the room is completely accessible.Though I don’t use a wheelchair, I do use a shower chair to take my showers, and those were the only rooms that have that feature.
More than that, Georgia College has disregarded the “soup can” mentality and shown me how to be passionate and advocate for those things in which I believe.In working with the disability services provider, I have found that advocacy is my passion.Thus, upon graduation, I will go on to receive my Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling to either serve as a vocational rehabilitation counselor for the state or to become a disability services provider for a university.
I have a few main goals for you, as the reader, and for myself as the writer. I will provide you with a wealth of resources to help you cope with disability how ever it may affect your life by compiling the most up-to-date information possible. You, then, will let me know what you'd like to see, what needs to change, or what may need to be added. I will let you know of the work I am doing within the disability community to gain valuable experience that will enrich my life. You, then, will let me know of your experiences doing the same.
I look forward to providing you with a plethora of resources, getting to know many of you, and advocating on behalf of individuals with disabilities together. Should you ever have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me with your comments. To see previous entries, scroll to the bottom of the page and click "Older Posts."
Remember, in the words of Mahatma Gandhi, we must “be the change [we] wish to see in the world.”