Conference Focuses on Postsecondary Education and People with Intellectual Disabilities
by Ashley Wolfe
“In November, I attended the State of the Art Conference on Postsecondary Education and Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities. The conference took place at the George Mason University in Fairfax, VA. The presentations I chose to attend were about evaluation, research, and employment.
I’m a self-advocate—a person with a disability who works to improve my life and other people’s lives. I received a scholarship to attend the conference from the National Down Syndrome Society, funded by a grant from the Riggio family.
The conference was very informative and useful for learning new ways to make a positive difference and to move toward self-improvement. We discussed ways that people with intellectual disabilities can help each other and their communities. We also looked at ways to create healthier workplace environments, and ways to make a positive impact—both in public, and on our own.
At the conference, I learned strategies for being a good human researcher in my field. These strategies will help me be more open and sensitive to methods for understanding my research subjects.
I’m glad I had the chance to attend this conference, and it raised an important question: What does it mean to be a person with an intellectual disability? Here’s what I think about that.
It does not matter if you are a student, working in the community, or just trying to get better with technology and self-determination. With the right supports, you can achieve things like living on your own.
But it’s really about you and how you can make a difference. In the outside world, don’t be afraid to try new things and to expand your knowledge. It’s OK to have other people to help you along in your professional life. The biggest need is to live your own life, where you can make your own choices and make your own decisions.”