Together We Can Do So Much
June 1, 2011 Prism Newsletter
By Lina Zubi
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” These words from Helen Keller found themselves in my head while I was reflecting on my experience as a volunteer at the Autism NOW DC Metropolitan Area Regional Summit. It was unlike any other autism event I have been to. In the past, I have walked away with information, but this time I walked away with more than that. I walked away with a sense of community, interdependence, and empowerment. I walked away with a list in things in mind that I’d like to see happen, for the people I work with and for people dear to me. Goals that will take months to achieve and others that may take years and years. I walked away with a strong feeling of hope that these goals will eventually be met.
Everyone Had a Voice
People were heard at this event. Everyone had a voice — an opportunity — to communicate their views on issues relating to autism and disability near and dear to their hearts. They had chances to agree, disagree, elaborate, debate, share, listen, and speak. The had chances to let others know what kind of information they need and to recognize that although their current situation may be far away from their ideal one, there are ways to get there and others who share a similar vision.
The self-advocates who shared their visions for themselves and for others with autism were incredibly inspiring. They reminded me that the sky is the limit when you focus on abilities and not disabilities, strengths and not weaknesses, and give people a chance to be heard.
I was impressed by the accommodations…. real-time captioning, a sensory room, interpreter availability, picture symbols accompanying the daily schedule… I could go on. We need to see this at more events, to maximize participation. I feel fortunate that I was able to volunteer and am very enthusiastic about upcoming events. I look forward to a future of full of information and resources, support, and achievement.
Lina Zubi works for The Arc of Prince George’s County.