Disability Policy Seminar 2014: My Experience

April 15, 2014

The Grand Hyatt in Washington, D.C., was the perfect setting for a seminar where  thoughtful content and committed colleagues mirrored the impressive  accommodations. Self-advocates, families, trainees and dedicated professionals came  together to share personal experiences, learn new strategies and promote change for  the community of persons with disabilities across the country. Throughout the halls, in  elevators, and in conference rooms, people from across the country found a common  voice and shared passion. I arrived at the Seminar as part of my group of colleagues  and LEND Trainees from Boston Children's Hospital, but left as a member of a much  larger community of Disability Advocates.

Seminar sessions covered current and upcoming legislative priorities that seek to ensure individuals with disabilities have their personal, financial, and educational needs met. From Sunday night's Trainee Symposium featuring mock meetings with AUCD staff (including an un-canny role play as Senator Elizabeth Warren, D-MA, by AUCD Executive Director Andy Imparato) until our group crossed the threshold leaving House and Senate offices on Wednesday, the contagious passion of my fellow attendees rivaled the spectacular sight of cherry blossoms on Capitol Hill.

I am definitely marking my calendar for next year's seminar and have already taken to social media to share a smiling photo of Senator Warren and myself. As I return to my office this week back in Massachusetts, I'll do so with a renewed passion for equality for persons with disabilities and a little tan from the Washington D.C. sun.

Ashley Coates, MS, Trainee: Children's Hospital Boston LEND