My name is Julia McLaughin. I am 26 and I have a condition called cerebral palsy which is caused by brain damage before, during or after birth. This interrupts communication between my brain/nervous system and my muscles. In addition, I also have a learning disability but despite this I have earned my high school diploma and two college degrees.
Cerebral palsy causes me to move differently. I have an abnormal gait, struggle with gross and fine motor skills and speak a little differently. I have had 2 surgeries on my achilles tendons, multiple series of botox and different types of braces to help me walk. Over the years I have met incredible doctors and therapists that treat the symptoms of cerebral palsy. When I was younger I had several seizures but thanks to medication I was able to stop seizure occurrence and discontinued medication at age 13. I have been seizure-free for 15 years.
I have a strong will despite all my challenges. After graduating high school (yes, I passed all the state testing), I went on to Landmark College in Putney, Vermont where I received my Associates Degree in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Education and Communication. I then transferred to Lynn University where I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education.
I hope that I can help advocate for individuals with disabilities all over the world and continue the fight for equity. One day my dream is to increase the level of understanding within the community.