Back in early September, The Arc of Mid-Ohio Valley and The Arc of West Virginia asked if I would keynote their self-advocate conference, Riding the Wave of Self-Advocacy. They wanted me to speak about, “how Kayla has not let her disability stand in her way of being successful, speaking up to her lawmakers on all levels of government.”

It took 45 minutes for my virtual presentation. I also took questions at the end and did a virtual meet and greet with some of their self-advocates. I like to interact with other self-advocates to answer any questions they have about my presentation or just get to know each other a little bit better. Sometimes the questions aren’t always geared to my speech and they just want to ask general questions about my life.

When I talk to groups of other self-advocates, I like to share my personal story. I tell them about my experience growing up and my aspirations for the future. I also gave them insight to my work with the National Down Syndrome Society and what I’ve done for the past three years as the Manager of Grassroots Advocacy. When I speak about my work, I talk about our legislative priorities and how they can engage in advocacy through our phone to action alerts, our emails and newsletters and becoming a DS-Ambassador.

As we start 2021, I encourage you to find ways to engage in advocacy and let your voice be heard. There are many ways to be involved with the community and make a difference. Reaching out to your legislators is an important one. I am also suggesting that you visit our website at www.ndss.org if you have any further questions or you can always email us at [email protected] for more information.