I am excited to be a Policy Intern at the National Center for Learning Disabilities through the American Association of People with Disabilities Summer Internship Program. I am a Politics, Policy and Law Three-Year Scholar at American University, majoring in Communications, Law, Economics and Government. I have served as a Public Policy and Employment Fellow at RespectAbility, a disability advocacy organization based in Rockville, MD. At RespectAbility, I researched and wrote blog posts about hot-button issues in the disability community, such as employment, education, transportation, and health care policy.
Throughout my life, I have struggled with learning and attention issues, specifically ADHD, Developmental Coordination Disorder, and a Processing Speed Delay. From an early age I’ve had trouble focusing and sitting still–I space out without realizing it, and my legs shake constantly whenever I’m sitting down. It also takes me longer to process information than other people, which is especially difficult when taking notes in class while trying to pay attention to the instructor.
While these struggles have presented significant challenges in my life, I persevered with the support of my family, friends, teachers, and years of therapy. Instead of letting my challenges weigh me down, I embraced them by openly communicating how my learning and attention issues affect me in social, professional, and academic situations. For example, I prefer to work in a small office environment with ample opportunities for collaboration because I learn more effectively through verbal communication. At RespectAbility, I discussed with my supervisor that it may take me longer to develop my thoughts and put them into written form. Together, we worked to improve my writing process. Open communication and self-advocacy have been a crucial factor in my overall success.
I want to help the 1 in 5 Americans with learning and attention issues by advocating for public policies that make it easier to access effective support services. I recognize that, while I may have a strong support system and parents who were successful in advocating for me, many people with learning and attention issues are not as fortunate. NCLD works every day to be a voice for the 1 in 5 and to help young people develop the skills to self-advocate and reach success after high school. I am excited to play a role in that work.
At NCLD, I plan to advocate for individuals with learning disabilities by attending coalition meetings to collaborate with like-minded organizations, and lobbying for NCLD’s legislative priorities on Capitol Hill. Through these experiences, I hope to gain the skills and insights to have a successful career in disability advocacy and policy. I am eager to be an advocate for all people with disabilities, including those with learning disabilities.
Tell Congress: Pass the RISE Act
We need your help! Ask your member of Congress to support students with learning and attention issues.
Thanks to support from generous partners like you, we are able to create programs and resources to support the 1 in 5 individuals with learning and attention issues nationwide.