Dwell in the Possibilities
Bridget Brown, an advocate who Dwells in the Possibilities
Dwell in the Possibilities
My name is Bridget Brown and I am a public speaker, an advocate, an actress and a young woman with Down syndrome. I am very proud and honored to receive the 2012 Self-Advocate of the Year Champion of Change Award. I love my life and it is a beautiful life because people always dwelled in the possibilities. I live in Illinois with my parents. I have two fabulous siblings, a brother & sisterin- law, and a niece. My family members are my champions and I love them all very much. My advocacy journey started when I was three years old because I was the first person with Down syndrome included in my neighborhood preschool. I was included through high school and so I am a strong advocate of inclusion. I have my own consulting organization called Butterflies for Change (www.butterfly4change.org). I work with my mother to inspire people to open their hearts, doors and minds to include people. I speak nationally to educators and parents about inclusion and encourage them to dwell in the possibilities, look beyond students' labels, and give children a chance to be included with their peers. I also talk to students about treating people with respect and dignity. I encourage them to be champions for others and reflect the light of compassion and respect. I was a guest consultant/speaker for Project CHOICES (Illinois State Board of Education Least Restrictive Environment Initiative) for many years. I love working with high school students with disabilities teaching self-determination and self-directed IEPs . I have had the opportunity to do that through a grant from the Illinois Council of Developmental Disabilities. I also did advocacy work in Springfield with the Family Support Network. I work as a dental assistant's assistant and I have an internship as a pediatric dental educator at the University of Illinois Dental School. One of my dreams came true when I was in a movie with Miley Cyrus called LOL. I was also blessed to be in a HBO documentary called "The Miss You Can Do It Pageant" about a beauty pageant for girls with disabilities. I have been trained as a PATH/MAP facilitator & I am a graduate of the STARS advocacy program through the ARC of Illinois. Being a Global Messenger with Special Olympics and a member of AKTION club are two favorite activities of mine. I am looking forward to receiving the 2012 NDSS Self-Advocate of the Year Champion of Change Award, attend the Buddy Walk® on Washington & the Down Syndrome Affiliates in Action (DSAIA) conference as a board member for the National Association for Down Syndrome (NADS). A few years ago I was awarded the Association of University Centers on Disabilities National Leadership in Advocacy Award in 2009. I just finished leading a very successful public speakers training program for self-advocates with NADS. I think all of us can change the world by sharing our stories. I believe in the sacred dignity of all people and I am blessed to be able to help people with disabilities design full and productive lives filled with hope!