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3rd Place Essay Winner: 9-14 Age Group

“Raising Disability Awareness”

Wendy Brehm
Kendall Demonstration Elementary School
Washington, DC

I can make a difference in my community by educating others about people who are deaf and/or have multiple disabilities. To me, there are three important ways to educate others. First, I can teach others that deaf people and people with multiple disabilities are equal to any other human being. Second, I can help deaf people and people with multiple disabilities find jobs by educating others. Last but not least, I can help deaf people and people with multiple disabilities have more access when it comes to movies, plays, and school.

The main reason I want to educate others about people who are deaf and/or have multiple disabilities is because of my brother, Miguel. He is deaf like me, but also has Pervasive Developmental Disorder, (PDD). He opened my eyes to the fact that I am capable of helping him have a great life, while also making a difference for others.

I want to become an advocacy lawyer or a civil lawyer for people who are deaf and/or have multiple disabilities. I can set up multiple groups that will help advocate for the rights of deaf people and people with multiple disabilities. I can talk to deaf people and people with multiple disabilities and help them if they feel as if any of their rights are not being addressed.

Through advocacy, I can make a difference by educating others about the fact that deaf people and people who have multiple disabilities are equal to any other person. I can explain that even though people like me who are deaf and people who have multiple disabilities have some restrictions, we can still succeed in life. There are several people who are deaf and/or have multiple disabilities and are very successful. I want every person who is deaf and/or has multiple disabilities to feel as if they are Wanted, Important, and Needed, (WIN). This is a philosophy that I learned from Dr. Frank Turk at the National Leadership and Literacy Camp, (NLLC). I feel that it is an important philosophy because everybody deserves to feel like winners.

By educating others, I can help people who are deaf and/or have multiple disabilities find jobs. The more people understand that people who are deaf and/or have multiple disabilities are equal to anybody else, the more people will be open minded when it comes to hiring deaf people and/or people with multiple disabilities. The more deaf people and people with multiple disabilities are able to find good jobs, they will have a better outcome in life, and I would like to make that happen.

The rights of any human being are important. That's why everybody deserves to have their rights addressed. I want to help people who are deaf and/or have multiple disabilities have their rights addressed. For example, deaf people pay to go to the movies, take time out of their day to go, but sometimes they get stuck with no captions or with Rear Window Captions, (RWC). That's not fair, because hearing people get to go to the movies and understand what is going on. By educating others about that, I can make open captioning happen in all movie theaters. In a movie theater, there is accessible seating for people with multiple disabilities, which Is good, but what about for blind people? If you wanted to go to the movies and you were blind, would the theater provide a blind interpreter for you? If a deaf person and/or a person with multiple disabilities decides to go to a mainstream school, they have every right to understand what is going on and are able to make friends with their peers. I want to make sure that happens. Basically, everybody deserves to feel comfortable and be able to learn at school, even if it is not their first language.

The three important ways to educate others, showing others how deaf people and people with multiple disabilities are equal to any other human being, educating others how they are capable of having jobs, and last but not least , advocating their rights can really make a difference in a person who is deaf or a person who has multiple disabilities' life. That's how I want to make a difference, not only for my brother, but for anyone who needs it.