First MS Self-Advocacy Fellow Begins in MS-AR LEND Partnership Program

October 24, 2016

Robert "Taylor" Carley recently began his training year as the first self-advocacy fellow in the Institute for Disability Studies' (IDS) Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental (and Related) Disabilities (LEND) program. IDS' LEND is made possible through a sub-contract with the Arkansas LEND Program and is in its seventh year of existence.

This year's Mississippi cohort also includes fellows in counseling psychology, social work, applied behavior analysis and family nurse practice. Taylor's first connection to IDS was through volunteering and then serving in the first TRIAD Service AmeriCorps Program.

It was during his initial volunteer and service experiences that he found his "voice" and passion to serve others as a self-advocate leader. He then served as president of the STEP UP Advisory Council composed of youth and young adults with and without disabilities. The council focuses on issues facing all young people including leadership, self-advocacy, transition, health care, education, employment, and recreation and is a subcommittee of the overall IDS Advisory Council. He then obtained his first job and began sharing his story across the state at various conferences and events.

Since November 2015, Taylor has served as the first young adult self-advocacy coordinator at IDS. He recently was accepted to present at his first national conference, the AUCD 2016 Annual Conference "Navigating Change: Building our Future Together" in Washington D.C. In December, Taylor will jointly present with Liz Weintraub, AUCD National Self-Advocate, on each of their self-advocate YouTube video series. Taylor has been a big admirer of Liz's Tuesdays with Liz, and his series, Chit Chat Thursdays with Taylor is distributed statewide in Mississippi. Taylor lives his life by the following motto: "A disability is an ability!"