December 4, 2011

What next - the movies?

Alex loves to perform; she loves to be acknowledged and loves to be the center of attention. This is not dissimilar to many teenagers I know, but it is often difficult to find that forum where she is included and accepted. The football team was an example of this life we dream for Alex. She gained confidence and improved her social skills and most importantly felt important.

Alex, her counselor, case manager and I are always looking for opportunities for this to happen and are often successful. These opportunities may be one-time events and not part of the fabric of Alex’s life, but they are always welcome and inclusive, and everyone wins.

In our constant quest to create awareness about people with disabilities and empowering our self-advocates, Valley Life for All recently approached a local radio station, KDNK in Carbondale. Included on our team were John, Alex’s case manager and the ED of WindWalkers, this is a team devoted to supporting Alex and all people with disabilities in our Valley. These are the passionate and caring people who are vested in Alex’s success, and for whom we are very thankful.

Our idea was to ask the station to interview people with disabilities (starting with Alex) in our Valley once a month to create more awareness. KDNK agreed but wanted to do this as a part of the Andy Zanca Youth Empowerment Program which teaches high school students to develop leadership, multiculturalism and identity by providing training and opportunity to youth in community broadcasting. This sounded like a great first step, so Alex and her case manager worked on a script, we prepared the questions and Alex prepared the answers. She practiced for a week with her speech therapist and was ready and excited for the interview.

Q. Where do you go to school?
A. I am a senior at Basalt High School.
Q. What activities do you do at Basalt High School?
A. I have been the football team manager and water girl for three years. I have been in high school plays for four years. Right now I am in “Blazing Guns” for my senior year.
Q. What other things do you like to do?
A. I am going to college in New Jersey, either Mercer County Community College or the College of New Jersey.
Q. Can you tell me something you are really proud of?
A. I won medals in the Special Olympic in skiing, track, swimming and bowling.
Q. What do you want people to know about people with disabilities?
A. I would like people to know that we can do so much more than they think. Go to college, play sports, learn every day and have a full life.

I admit to being a mama bear when it comes to Alex, and even my other kids, but I like Alex to be prepared and confident. I am also guilty of overanalyzing situations and trying to micro-manage. I always say that Alex can do anything she sets her mind to – and that includes a successful interview even when it goes off script. She proved me right again.


1 comment:

  1. We love game night at our house. We have no place to use as a get-away but we still have fun. Loved the pics.


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