Q: What would you most like people to know about your loved one?
Laurie: Never underestimate her; most people do until they get to know her. She has far more capability than most people think.
Q: What brings you the most fulfillment/joy as a caretaker?
Laurie: Finding the keys to open doors and ways to access the person my daughter is within, and then watching her thrive despite the challenges and obstacles she has had to face.
Q: What’s the most rewarding part of working with the disability community?
Laurie: Seeing people discover the potential of those who face developmental challenges, dispelling myths about people with disabilities, and then building systems that move toward change.
Q: What is the hardest part of working in the disability advocacy community?
Laurie: Ignorance, apathy, and then when people finally get involved, they think they know how to care for someone with IDD more than those with IDD or their caregivers, and therefore, they try and tell you how to do it better or what you have been doing wrong. Also, placing false narratives and beliefs ahead of the reality of lived experience and imposing those beliefs on the family and individual with IDD.
Q: What project have you been involved in that you are the most proud of?
Laurie: Building an early intervention program that targeted the whole family. Along with that, writing a curriculum that supports the caregiver as well as the individual with IDD.
Q: What’s your favorite thing to do when you have some free time?
Laurie: Scrapbooking to journal life events and reading. Oh yes…and playing Candy Crush!
Read more about National Caregivers Month at https://www.fddc.org/