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I vote because I vote for two - not just myself but also for my nearly 15 year old neurodiverse autistic daughter who is becoming painfully aware with each passing day that she is different, and that she is often misunderstood because she does not communicate the way 75% of her neurotypical peers do.  She may not have verbal functional communication, but she experiences all the feelings of judgement, seclusion, segregation, also of acceptance, unconditional love and compassion.  I am her voice for now, as her mother, and her ally and that’s why I. vote.

I vote because I know through my work at PRAGNYA with individuals in the ID/DD- Neurodiverse community , that “compassion and unconditional acceptance” by everyone can do wonders to helping people thrive and I want to be able to elect and foster compassionate leadership who can further the message of PRAGNYA - being awakened with compassion.  

I vote because even today, the allocated 40% of Special Education funding that Congress can appropriate is not allocated due to the fact that our “Disability” or “Different” community are not a priority and can seem burdensome to those lawmakers and legislators who are never affected by disability.  Our children need all the support that they can get, it does not take a village but all of society to come together to support and raise our children who are “developmentally different”. I vote because we need “Allies” in office at different levels of Government advocating and being the voice of not just the neurotypical community but also the neurodiverse community who are forgotten almost all of the time.

Shawn Costello, is a developmentally different individual from Dublin, who is an amazing self advocate.  He has been running for Dublin City Council a little over two decades.  He has run for different positions but I do. Not believe he has ever won - I had never heard of him till one of our Allies at PRAGNYA. Diksha wrote to me to help get the message out about his campaign on our Radio Dehotties.  

Her words,

Costello is in a wheelchair, he is neurodiverse, but I think he is capable, qualified and like everyone else, has a vision for a better society.  He said he has been running for so many year in the face of failure because if he does not advocate for himself no one else will and I have realized through my involvement at PRAGNYA that eventoday, neurodiverse people are not treated like they belong with us and I would do anything to bring about that change.  I would vote for him if I were eligible but I want to urge everyone else to vote for him too.  

I am an Ally like Diksha and it is for Allies like her, who look up to us to do the right thing, who advocate for the neurodiverse population that I vote.  

It is for my daughter, Pragnya, it is for her ally Diksha, it is for the amazing self advocates like Shawn Costello, it is for the compassionate leaders like the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, for the late Rep John Lewis, that I will vote, because so many lives depend on it!

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