Ellen has been giving presentations on topics related to her experience living with a disability for over 10 years. She has spoken at many types of venues, including local self-advocate meetings, university classrooms, conferences, and more. Ellen is available to speak on a variety of issues relating to disabilities, but she is most interested in the following topics.
A fancy way of saying, “Living your life as fully as you can.” Ellen demonstrates that each of us has the right to live, work, play, retire, and die with dignity in the community of our choice. She gives her perspective on working with challenging systems and offers ways to make the systems work better for you. Her story enlightens consumers, families, and professionals alike.
When we give our time to help others, we get just as much or more in return. Volunteering is also an excellent way to create friendships, and get us out and about in our community. Ellen teaches you how to find a volunteer opportunity leading to meaningful experiences.
Ellen uses public transportation and has advocated for improved transportation systems in North Carolina. She shares her personal story of becoming the chair of the Transportation Advisory Board in her community, where her lessons in leadership were put to the test. Ellen's work led to vastly improved services during her 12-year involvement on the board. Ellen now volunteers on the Chapel Hill EZ Rider Advisory Committee, where she continues to advocate for better services for individuals with disabilities.
Ellen believes that training future leaders is extremely important, as these are the people who will be creating policies in the future. She believes we need to be actively training, shaping, and educating people with I/DD into leaders. For example, self-advocacy groups are a good way to identify and mentor future leaders in assertiveness and individual rights
Ellen sees the problem of isolation among people with I/DD. In her presentations she guides us through the importance of friendship. She also teaches lessons on finding and keeping friends. By incorporating role-playing into her presentations, Ellen helps people learn to break the ice and start enriching their lives through friendship.