My brother and I are like all siblings: we encourage each other, look up to each other, indulge in young adult’s activities. That people with Down Syndrome have a negative impact on their siblings is a false myth. In our case, we have a very strong bond and we take care of each other. My brother is in Pittsburgh. Sometimes he comes over here and I go over there. We will never really be apart. Brothers and sisters can be alike despite having a disability.
Thanks in part to the services I get through a Medicaid Waiver, my disability hasn’t stopped me from achieving similar achievements and goals to those of my brother and his friends. I went to George Mason University because having a well-rounded education prepared me for competitive employment, an ambition of mine. To go to college, I had to advocate for myself in my Individual Education Plan (IEP) meeting. I told them “my brother is in college, why can’t I?” My experience in going to college prepared me for the job in which I’m currently working.
In my job, I am assisted by a Job Coach, covered by a Medicaid Waiver. This waiver also helps cover my involvement in an inclusive theater company called Artstream, and in an inclusive dance class called Deveneo, both of which I enjoy.
In August of 2019, my brother got married and I was overwhelmed with the deepest of emotions. He finally found someone to share his life with. As the best man, I wore this nice suit. At first, the suit couldn’t fit me. Both my parents and I decided to pay and find a personal trainer. He is great to work with and challenges me. The result of those workouts really paid off because my suit can finally fit. This proves we can still inspire each other even when we are not at the “same room.” I used self-directed services and support under Medicaid to assist me in paying for a personal trainer and sources of transportation for traveling to the activities I enjoy.
Participation in a waiver program has allowed me to increase my independence, just like my brother. Congress can continue to make a big impact on people with developmental disabilities by not cutting funding of Medicaid Waiver services.