In past posts I have highlighted famous celebrities and well known figures that have disabilities as a point of inspiration and to illustrate that given the right amount of determination and knowledge people can do anything; with or without a disability. This week I found an article from a couple of years ago about a young woman with down syndrome who is just as inspiring as any celebrity with a disability and is a great role model for people going through difficult times or who simply need courage for whatever the case may be.
Bridgett Brown, from Darien IL, was the first student with Down Syndrome that was mainstreamed into a school district. She is also accredited for having started her own advocacy organization, Butterflies for Change. Bridgett is also interested in acting and had a small role in the movie LOL with Miley Cyrus; proving that with determination anything can happen.
In an article published by Grape-Nuts, Bridget had a question and answer session with an interviewer where she admitted to some of the biggest challenges that face a person with a disability and how to overcome them. Her answer: Hope.
Q. What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced?
A. My biggest challenge is learning to live a full life with a disability and being an advocate for myself and for others.
Q. What inspired you to take this challenge?
A. I was the first person included in my school starting in preschool all the way through high school. So from the beginning of my life, I have learned to be an advocate for people with disabilities and for myself. I started to advocate for the rights of people with disabilities when I went to Springfield in eighth grade and started to advocate for people to live in their community. This is a lifelong challenge because we have a long way to go in our state when it comes to including people with disabilities in their schools and communities. I continue to help people find their voice so they can share their hopes and dreams with the world.
Q. Did you succeed?
A. I think my job is to be a hope holder and encourage people to dwell in the possibilities. I have my own consulting organization called Butterflies for Change and I am a national Keynote Speaker. I work in the dental field and for PACE as a disability spokesperson. Yes, I did succeed at being included in my school, and I succeed when I work with individuals with disabilities and help them find their voice. I help people understand inclusion and welcome people with disabilities by opening their hearts, minds and doors for them. I think I have been successful sharing hope and encouraging others. I have lots of goals. I would like to go to college, continue my acting career and be in more movies, and grow my advocacy organization Butterflies for Change. I would like to train other people with disabilities to be public speakers. I would also like to write a book to help people with disabilities find their own voice. I am also here to help others. My saying is: HOPE GIVES US THE COURAGE TO TAKE A CHANCE ON OUR FUTURE.
Having a disability is part of everyday life for millions of people in America. What is important is learning to live with that disability and give hope to others who might be going through similar situations. That is why individuals like Bridgett are so inspirational.