In high school, I didn’t always think I would go to college. I wasn’t aware of the services available to help me. When I found out about my learning disability, I connected with INCLUDEnyc and my school’s accessibility office to request accommodations.
I used to worry about what my future would look like. I know now that I can’t always predict what will happen, but I’m prepared. For anyone like me who might have a hard time finding a job, connect with others. There are great people out there who want to help and they believe in you.
My transition to college has been a difficult one and mostly because I was unable to get critical accommodations in a timely manner. I’m calling for university staff and administrators, even those who do not work in their school’s accessibility offices, to bring greater attention, compassion, and advocacy to their students with disabilities.
INCLUDEnyc works with over 350 community partners throughout New York City to deliver hundreds of trainings and events to young people with disabilities and their families each year. Chatham Square Library, the New York Public Library Branch on the Lower East Side, is one of those partners.
Felicita had limited English proficiency and trouble navigating the NYC public school system for her children, Jennifer and Nixon, now ages 17 and 24. Felicita started her work with us through the NYS PROMISE project. When she contacted INCLUDEnyc for the first time, Alfonso Guzman, Manager of Parent and Family Services and Family Educator Steffany Ruiz connected Felicita to a Community Employment Specialist and Community Case Manager.
Many times, students of color are overrepresented in some of the official 13 disability classifications and underrepresented in others. Nationally, for example, fewer African American students are classified under “ADHD” than white students. Likewise, they are underrepresented in the category of “Autism” and overrepresented in the “Emotional Disturbance” category.
We have many conversations—sometimes controversial ones—in the autism community. High Functioning vs. Low Functioning. Atypical vs. Neurotypical. Public School vs. Private School. Vaccinations and autism. We don’t often talk about the lack of minority representation in the media. It seems to be taboo.