Stories of Self-Advocacy

By Lisa Parramore on May 22, 2019
These videos are part of Stark County Board of Developmental Disabilities’ series “This is Me… This is Us” on their YouTube channel. They are shared with permission here on


When young people can self-advocate, they are better equipped to take on life’s challenges. They also feel more autonomous and better able to build relationships by connecting with others. If they can identify the areas in which they need support, they’re more likely to get the help they need to succeed in life.

When you tell your own story, your voice becomes more powerful. You can better communicate your needs and improve your daily experience. You might even impact others.

Watch these videos from Stark County Board of Developmental Disabilities’ series, “This is Me… This is Us” to find out how young people with disabilities in Stark County are being advocates for themselves.

Meet Eric Foit

As Eric’s self-advocacy got stronger – for instance, he suggested going skydiving and it happened – it gave him the confidence to start asking for more. Watch the video below to learn more about Eric and how Stark DD is helping him dream bigger.

Meet Anna Brady

Anna uses her creativity to express herself through activities such as drawing, singing and baking. Find out how Stark DD is helping her reach her goals in the community.

Meet Carlos Elder

After one incident changed his life, Carlos had dreams of helping people in his community, becoming a motivational speaker and producing music. Watch the video to learn how Stark DD is connecting Carlos with the people who can make all that happen.

Meet Amy and Brian Dunnivan

Amy and Brian got married a little over a year after meeting on a blind date. They’re now living on their own through services and support from Stark DD. Find out what they want to accomplish as a couple by watching the video below.

Meet Aaron Williams

When Aaron wanted to find a job, Stark DD paired him with a position that was the perfect fit. They also got him safe, reliable transportation to and from work. Learn more about Aaron’s story by watching the video below.

Meet Lily Croston

When Lily was born, her parents thought they’d never see her walk or smile. Three years later, Lily has made tremendous progress with the help of Stark DD providers. Watch the video to find out how they helped her reach developmental goals and transition to pre-school.

Meet Tinessa Daniels

After a year of misdiagnoses for an illness that kept her inside the house most of the time, Tinessa finally got the care she needed. Her mom and Stark DD formed a support team to figure out what she needed to be healthy on a daily basis. This allowed her to go to her workshop, see her friends and become happy once again. Learn more by watching the video.

Meet Nick Doyle

Growing up with Down syndrome, Nick and his family were able to build a support system on their own. But in the past few years, they’ve come to rely more and more on the services Stark DD provides. Watch the video to find out how Nick is becoming more active in the community through sports and working on his long-term career goals.

Meet Matthew Lashley

Matthew’s family began using Stark DD services when he was only 6 weeks old. They didn’t reach out again until about 16 years later. Stark DD was able to help Matthew find job opportunities and training programs. When Matthew wanted a change, Stark DD was able to zero-in on what he wanted in a job and found him a better fit. Watch the video to hear Matthew’s story and to find out how Stark DD can be there for someone at any point of their journey.

Meet David and Jeff

Being in a shared living space has helped David and Jeff live the lives they want. Their needs are met through being part of a family and community. Watch the video to find out how Stark DD helped make this happen.

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