After traveling to the Buddy Walk in New York City, I went onto Las Vegas where I was to speak at the Nevada’s Governor Council on Developmental Disabilities. The night we arrived Ashley and I had a working dinner to go over my PowerPoint and talking points for the following day. I like to do that so that I am speech ready for the next morning.
The next day, Ashley met me at the conference, it was right at the hotel, so it was definitely convenient. During the morning breakfast session the council members went over their remarks. One of the council members introduced me to the podium. Stephen, a council member as well as self-advocate, spoke before me, telling his own personal story and what drove him to become a council member.
When I start my speech I use the “On the Road” with Steve Hartman as my introduction. My speech is also about my personal story as well as how I started my job as the first federal registered lobbyist with Down Syndrome. I talk about Law Syndrome and how it affects us today and the successes we have had with our legislative agenda. I also talk about the acts we have been diligently working on. We love to engage the audience by telling them how to take action, where you can receive our legislative updates, and how to take part in our phone 2 action alerts.
The second and last day of the conference, my friend Russel Lehman, was to be the keynote for the day, unfortunately Russel couldn’t make it. They called on Santa, another self-advocate who told her own story and her path to becoming a writer. Since Russel couldn’t be there they asked me to come on stage and help them out, as well as Stephen to monitor.
It was a great conference and I was honored to be asked to speak. We love telling our stories so that everyone can see how capable we are and see past any disabilities we may have.