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Teens and Young Adults

One important aspect of being a strong teen or young adult self-advocate is sharing your story. By telling others about your own personal challenges and successes, you will empower yourself, inspire other self-advocates to share their story, and educate the public about what it’s like to be a teen or young adult with Down syndrome.

At the Self-Advocate Workshops at the Annual Conference, one self-advocate, Leah T. told her story, sharing how one teen with Down syndrome makes the world a better place:

Self-Advocate Spotlight: Meet Leah!

Leah T.

Hi. My name is Leah T. I am 15 years old. I live with my mom and my dad and my two brothers, Matt and Tim.

I want to get married to my husband and I really hope I can have twins. I want to take care of two little girls that I will name Alison and Gracie.

When I’m not at school, I like to listen to music and play in my room. I love Taylor Swift. My favorite songs are Mine and Sparks Fly. My favorite TV shows are Supernanny and Good Luck Charlie.

I do rhythmic gymnastics in Special Olympics. I have won lots of medals for gymnastics in Special Olympics. My favorite event is ribbon.

When I’m in high school I work in the collaborative classroom. I help students who can’t talk. These students can’t walk so they are in wheel chairs. They need a lot of help. I read them stories in the classroom. I am reading a book called Freak the Mighty to the students. They really like to listen to me read the story to them. It makes them happy to see me when I come into their classroom.

Do you have a story you would like to share? email your story to Colleen at cendres@mdsc.org, and stay tuned for a new Self-Advocate Spotlight!

The MDSC believes every individual with Down syndrome can become not just a self-advocate, but a strong self-advocate. We do this by making the empowerment of self-advocates a major component of all our programs for teens and young adults. This includes the following:

AIMThe AIM: Teen and Young Adult Program provides fun, inclusive, interactive events each month for teens and young adults ages 13-22. AIM participants develop leadership and self-advocacy skills; build social relationships with peers; and grow confidence in an encouraging environment.

SAACThe Self-Advocate Advisory Council (SAAC) is open to young adults and adults ages 21 and up. Council members help direct the MDSC on how our organization should best serve the teen and adult population. In doing so, members develop key skills for becoming future leaders in the MDSC and the community.

Self Advocate ConfThe Annual Conference for Self-Advocates is one of several tracks available to attendees of our Annual Conference in Worcester every March. During a full day of workshops, self-advocates have an opportunity to network and share experiences, strengthen their self-advocacy skills, and learn about the importance of leading a healthy life and building meaningful relationships.