30 Days of MD: Faith, Disability and Advocacy

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by Ralph Yaniz |

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Day 10 of #30daysofMD This is @faithabovemyability story: Topic: Faith, disability, and advocacy I was born with a type of muscular dystrophy, but 30.5 years later, I’m still not typed. Not knowing which type of MD I have has been increasingly frustrating to me in recent years. But looking back, I can’t even imagine how frustrated my parents must have been with taking me from specialist to specialist only to still hear “oh, how unique.” It took years for me to be ok with the fact that I don’t know what type I have, but I know God knows. His plans for me are greater than I could ever imagine (Jeremiah 29:11 is pretty much my life verse), and in this time of waiting He’s not only teaching me patience, but He is using my weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:9) for His glory which is pretty cool. So what does that look like in my life? I’m a middle school special education teacher. I love what I do and the kids I serve. Because of my life experiences I am called to advocate for change (I like to call myself an agent for change) in the way people with disabilities are seen and the support services they require to live independent and meaningful lives. As a person with Muscular Dystrophy, I face numerous obstacles with attendant care, accessibility, and the government’s definition of disability, but I don’t let this stop me. I want better for my students. So in addition to teaching my students to become better self advocates, I’m meeting with legislators, county agencies, and school districts to help align services in order to make meaningful policy change.

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