2018, see ya

3 things I will always remember

  1. Door knocking for Ami Wazlawic – my new State Representative! I think I liked that even more than being a delegate at the State Convention. I think the parties need to think about how they’re endorsing candidates so that more people can be involved in the process.Ami Wazlawic and Justin Smith smilingKris and Justin smiling
  2. Spoke at Charting the C’s Conference – a lot of work but felt amazing to be the keynote speaker and to present in a couple sessions with my mom, Jennie Delisi and Kim Wee. It’s awesome to have the opportunities to share my experience with such amazing people! Justin with 2 womenJustin smiling with audience seated at tables in background
  3. Writing my unfinished first draft of my book and my blog – I even moved my blog to WordPress which I’ve found very accessible and easy to use. To write is to be free.Justin looking at computer

Read more posts about my favorite 2018 things

Volunteering and participating in political process

VOTE on 11/6 if you haven’t already

Midterms on Nov 6: Clear choice for me in Minnesota

Midterms Part 1: People with Disabilities Vote!

Why it matters

Vote! My letter to the editor

Adjournment

Ready to convene

Show Up and Dance with Me!

Charting the Cs Conference

I’m here and stuff

Video blog for my latest update

Writing

Writing with WordQ (NO POLITICS, really!)

Happy summer

Anyone else have this problem?

 

I’m here and stuff

Welcome to my new blog site! I’ve moved my blog to JustinSmithWrites.com

I’ve been learning how to set up everything in WordPress, which has been fun. It’s pretty easy to use. So, sign up to receive notifications for when I post a new blog from my new site. Let me know what you think!

It has been a busy couple of months for me.

Charting the Cs Keynote and PresentationsJustin smiling with audience seated at tables in background

I had a great time and met some awesome new people at Charting the Cs. I also got to see some old friends. I loved that families and kids got to get together on the Family Day. It’s so important for families who have kids with low-incidence disabilities, to be able to come together to share fantastic ideas, learn and to have fun together. It is important to remember that even though we may face challenges in living with disabilities, we are also part of families.

And we are part of a larger family and community. This was a great event to have some fun, learn new stuff, enjoy hanging out with others who get what it’s like to be in our shoes.

Charting the Cs was a great conference for educators and therapists to learn and share ideas about helping all kids learn and I was glad to be a part of it. Here are some quotes from my keynote and presentations:

Justin in elevated wheelchair with screen displaying closed captions behind

How are we preparing our young people, with and without disabilities, to live in an inclusive world, if we don’t first have meaningful inclusion in schools. This is where we all are learning to live, work, and play together. Don’t you think that meaningful inclusion in schools would lead to more meaningful inclusion everywhere else? How can we make it work better?

No one ever said it would be easy, there will be barriers along the way, but that doesn’t mean we don’t try. Inclusion matters. Accessibility matters. It’s not enough to talk about it – but we need to figure out ways to do it and to do it better.

So, you may think you have a simple end goal, but the face of reality seeps into life and you just get to figure out how to keep working towards that end goal even when the challenges get in the way.

Technology is changing all the time. It’s important to keep trying to find the tech that works best for you.

This is what my high school paraprofessional said: “You taught me to focus on the ABILITY of a person and not their disability.  There isn’t just one way to complete a task. It’s my job as an educator to find a way for all students to be able to show me their knowledge of the curriculum.”

Happy Belated Global Accessibility Awareness Day

I showed up in a couple Microsoft videos on Global Accessibility Awareness Day this year. What great messages about empowering every person, inclusion, and accessibility! Check out the Microsoft blogs with videos:

Global Accessibility Awareness Day: Ensuring inclusive learning for all your students blog and video

Reimagine accessibility and foster inclusion in the modern workplace blog and film

Time for Some Politics

In two weeks, I am off to Rochester for the DFL State Convention. This will be my first and hopefully not last time as a state delegate. It is so important for people with disabilities to show up and be included in the political process. There are so many legislative attempts right now that could result in cutting services that people with disabilities depend on for living in their communities. I will do what I can to advocate for strong support services and healthcare for as long as I breathe. We need to support candidates that support disability rights, independent living, and real choices!

Video blog for my latest update

Check out my latest video about how I get ready for being a keynote speaker and having several breakout sessions at the upcoming Charting the C’s Conference. At last count, there will be about 650 educators, therapists, and K-12 school professionals at the main conference. 

My keynote presentation title is Reimagining the Possibilities: A Work in Progress. I’ll be sharing my insights and perspectives about living with a disability that impacts movement, speech, hearing, and vision and why inclusion and accessibility matter. 

Watch for my next post in a couple weeks with more about technology that helps me do what I want to do. Lots left to do in the next couple of weeks, so time to get back to work!