#AdvocacyMatters: Leading the Way

March 25, 2022

Those who pave the way often create better opportunities not just for themselves, but also for those who come behind them. By identifying issues, dismantling barriers, and educating others, each small victory becomes a small stone in the foundation of larger change. As obstacles fall and challenges are overcome, new doorways are opened and new pathways are revealed.

Jordyn Zimmerman has autism, which for her comes with sensory and communication differences and a tendency to interpret things in a concrete way. For several years, she was moved from program to program at a variety of different schools. Nothing ever worked out. Eventually, she ended up spending her days in a room by herself doing repetitive tasks. “I was bored and lonely,” Jordyn explained. “I wanted to be in class with my peers.”

An attorney from DRO worked closely with Jordyn, and was able to identify new communications methods that allowed her to fully express herself. This discovery led to close cooperation with Jordyn’s IEP team, ultimately allowing her to be integrated with her peers. She graduated high school in 2016, attending Ohio University before receiving her Masters of Education from Boston College. Simple intervention opened doors of opportunity that seemed inconceivable previously.

Last week, President Biden announced Jordyn’s appointment to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities. This committee serves as advisors to both the President and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on issues relevant to people with intellectual disabilities. Jordyn’s experience will now go on to inform those empowered to improve these situations throughout her 2-year term.

We understand that this type of ascension and amplification is not at all typical, Jordyn’s appointment shows that it isn’t impossible. Every bit of advocacy, every victory, every milestone has the potential to be amplified far beyond one case, one organization, or one state. To fully understand just how much #AdvocacyMatters is to believe that one case or one victory can ascend to heights not thought possible.

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