Mother. Advocate. College Graduate. Smart Phone Photographer. Blogger.
Tricia’s warm smile and frequent Facebook posts of her toddler daughter Brielle are typical of a new mom who has taken to cell phone photography and many of the photographic apps available on the market. Tricia catches each developmental milestone for her friends and family to view, often creating unique photo collages so one can enjoy the kaleidoscope of joy in each captured moment.
Tricia and I have known each other for about a year. We met on the job through a project that I manage for the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council. Last year Tricia was the monitor on the Route to Self-Determination project and during our statewide training on the USF campus in St. Petersburg, I had the opportunity to meet Tricia in person. Inspiring is the first word that comes to my mind when I think back to that day at USF.
Tricia and technology are buddies. She uses a power wheelchair to get places and she uses a stylus and an iPhone to communicate with the public. Even though Tricia was born perfectly healthy, when she was five years old, she had a massive brain aneurysm due to extra blood vessels in her brain stem. After the aneurysm, she had to re-learn how to do everything. She was making wonderful progress until her parents moved to a small town that had limited services for children with Tricia’s types of challenges.
Her mother fought for her to attend typical classes and advocated for Tricia to stay out of the Special Education track. Tricia was simply too intelligent! She was a motivated and inspired learner, even though the schools she attended did little to accommodate her physical needs. Against many odds, Tricia graduated from her local high school with a 3.5 GPA.
After high school, Tricia continued her studies at the University of Central Florida and received a degree in Public Administration. She interned and landed her first professional job at Easter Seals. Then came marriage. Then came Brielle in a baby carriage!
I wanted to introduce Tricia to my blog readers because Tricia has an important story to tell. It is a story that culminates at the intersection of Motherhood and Advocacy and it is a story that is unfolding in real time. Tricia and I have decided to work together to capture the dynamic and the mundane, the exciting and the disappointing, the real and the surreal aspects of raising a child from Tricia’s unique perspective.
We plan to post twice a month. We hope to start a dialogue that includes aspects of Self-Advocacy, inspiration, Self-Determination, triumph and hope. We invite you all to join the conversation, to let us know how each post affects you and we ask that you share these stories with others.
Thank you for taking the time to meet my friend Tricia!