Martha Beck discusses how you can advocate for your child with Down syndrome.
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Advocating for My Child with Down Syndrome - Martha Beck After my son was born, a lot of people told me that a significant portion of my life would be advocating for people with disabilities. I remember feeling like “Yeah, that’s what I should do,” but something in the back of my mind also said, “I couldn’t have had other plans for my life.” What I found was that I wasn’t very effective at doing the things that like the other moms were doing. I had fibromyalgia, so when they would go and sit in a legislature meeting, I didn’t have the physical capability to do that and I felt guilty for a while. But then I realized what I do is I write. So, I wrote a book about my son. That book ended up being seen as advocacy for Down syndrome. I wrote it because it was in my heart to write it. So, what I would say is if you have a family member or a loved one with a disability or if you have a disability, define advocacy very broadly and make sure that you follow your heart because you are not going to be an effective advocate for anything if you are unhappy. So, always follow your own North Star and it will give you the form of advocacy that is most powerful for you and most helpful for your loved one. I just was able to celebrate my son’s 22nd birthday at the 10th anniversary of the Oprah magazine’s founding. I spoke to 3,300 people on his birthday and he came out on stage with me and got to see how many people he has influenced. All those people who have read my writing or are reading it because he changed my life and the love between him and those other people was so profoundly connecting and that’s what we want for all people of all colors, of all ability levels. We want that love to pervade our relationships and that comes from following your heart.

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