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How I've Succeeded in Life With an Intellectual Disability

I was diagnosed when I was 1 with an intellectual disability and benign congenital hypotonia. I had an IEP in school.

It all started downhill in first grade. Other kids would not let me play with them. But I did make two friends in elementary school who helped me. Having kids make fun of me made me start hiding my feelings. After September 11, I started writing poetry about my feelings.

When I was young I did not understand why I could not be just like the other kids in school. I would come home from school and ask my mom, “Why did God make me this way?” If it was not for Special Olympics I would not have any close friends at all. Yes, in school I made some friends but not to hang out with. I would not be who I am today without being in Special Olympics.

Thank God Mom found Special Olympics when I was 10. I look up to her so much. She has been with me every step of the way. I have a good family. Two accountants in the family. One that’s a Special Ed teacher because of me.

I just wanted to prove everyone wrong, that I can do anything they can. When I graduated high school I even got a vocational award, which I used to go to Ivy Tech Community College for two years. I had lots of help there too. I have a good job that respects and trust me. I had health insurance through work, but due to being part-time I had to get on Affordable Care Act. Then the Healthy Indiana Plan a few years later. I must do this because I’m not disabled by government standards. I can’t get on SSDI.

My boyfriend of 8 years means the world to me. I don’t know if getting married can happen because he is on SSDI and I am not. I meant him in Special Olympics and I asked him out.

You have got to teach others those with disabilities are the same as anyone else.

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