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An Interview with a Self-Advocate

Updated: Oct 19, 2023

Have any of you ever had the chance to meet one of your real-life heroes?

Well now, I can say that I have met one of mine.

People like Wednesday save me everyday. They save me from my worry, from my doubt, and from my preconceived ideas about raising a child with special needs.

Wednesday is one of my real-life heroes. She inspires me, gives me a sense of hope that I really can't even describe with words, and reminds me that the fight for inclusion and true acceptance of all people's differences is something we must all strive to make part of our everyday lives.

When my son was first diagnosed, I had so many worries, so much doubt, and so, SO many naïve assumptions about his future. An autism diagnosis meant he would never be in a regular-ed classroom, he would never graduate college, he would never live independently...the list went on and on in my mind daily. Throughout the last few years of education and advocacy, I have changed my mind about EVERY SINGLE ONE of those thoughts. I have learned that having special needs is not what I ignorantly believed it to be.

Do people with special needs face challenges in completing every day tasks or in accomplishing big, life events? YES

But, to be honest, who doesn't face daily challenges? Who doesn't have to adapt and accommodate for his/her specific needs? WE ALL DO!

People with special needs are capable, educated, and worthy of true inclusion and acceptance.

It was my absolute honor and pleasure to interview Wednesday. Hearing about her life and incredible journey from her point of view was an experience I will not soon forget. I know her words will resonate with so many and inspire you all to make this world a more inclusive and more accepting place for every person.

A little background information-Wednesday and I both serve on a council with the Center for Disability Resources at USC. This is where I had the opportunity to meet her. In our last meeting, I was really struck with pride by something she shared with the group and that one moment led me to reaching out to her for this interview. I really needed to know more about her and her point of view. Here is a little bit more about that first moment when I knew that Wednesday could teach us all a thing or two about special needs advocacy.

Enough from me....without further adieu, I give you the incomparable, Wednesday Jones.

A lot of parents ask me how/when to disclose their child’s diagnosis to them. Could you tell me a little bit about your diagnosis’ and how you first learned about them? What were your initial thoughts and what was that process like?

What do you wish people better understood about people with disabilities?

What barriers did/do you face growing up as a person diagnosed with a disability?

Have there been any mentors, teachers, or other people who have been integral in helping change the way you think about your diagnosis or in helping you on your path towards success?

What advice do you have for parents of young children going through the early stages of navigating a diagnosis?

What steps need to be taken to support true inclusion of all people?

A bit more about Wednesday:

Employment & Financial Literacy Specialist Pronouns: They/Them/Theirs or She/Her/Hers

Wednesday is an Employment and Financial Literacy Specialist. As someone living with autism, ADHD, a psychotic disorder, and scoliosis, their expertise goes beyond their professional experience.

Wednesday is passionate about providing culturally competent services to multi marginalized people. Through education, they believe people with disabilities can take pride in and advocate for themselves. Wednesday also wants to make society more accepting and accessible as a whole. Wednesday works out of the Columbia office and they love science fiction. Their favorite TV show is Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Information provided by

I also would like to thank, Mary Alex Kopp, the Director of Public Relations and Special Events for Able SC, for being part of our interview and discussion. I cannot thank you enough for your invaluable time and expertise.

All my love and support, Anna

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