Tuesday, July 24, 2012

We have skills, feelings and rights, just like everyone else

Kevin Smith
My name is Kevin Smith. I’m a person with a developmental disability. I have cerebral palsy with secondary blindness. But I don’t let that limit my ability to live life to the fullest extent possible. I was told I would never live on my own or have a job. No one thought I would ever get married or own a car. But those people were looking at my disabilities, not my abilities. I had my own apartment for more than 20 years, but now I live with my wife in our own house.

I started out working in our local sheltered workshop counting marbles, but now I work as a professional at The Arc as the People First coordinator for West Virginia. I own my own van (even though I can’t drive), and on April 28, I walked down the aisle for the second time. I wouldn’t have been able to achieve any of those things without self-advocacy and People First.

I got started with People First when I was nominated to go to a national conference held in Tennessee back in 1991. That’s where I learned that I had the right to speak up for what I wanted. Read Kevin's People First column on page 7 in the latest issue of Apostrophe Magazine.

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