December 15, 2021
2021-22 Wise Webinar Series:
Our Journey to Sharing Stories that Matter from... People Unheard in the Shadows
This presentation is part of the Wise series of trainings titled learning from our best teachers, individuals with disabilities. Chuy Campuzano has gotten to know and interview numerous people with lived life experience as Part of his Dis Life Project. These interviews will be presented in future Wise events. His first interview was with his good friend Curtis Harris who joins him today. The presentation will provide Insights from Chuy and Curtis on how they got past the misinformation and stereotypes surrounding Developmental disabilities and became strong advocates in their community. Developing relationships with individuals is the only way to learn how to best support them. This will lead to understanding of how to develop strategies to provide support for individuals to become contributing members of their communities.
- Give participants the opportunity to experience what individuals with disabilities go through from early in life onward.
- Give participants information to help individuals and support staff overcome misinformation and stereotypes concerning disabilities.
- Learn how to use empathy to better understand the individual and to provide better person-centered support.
- Develop strategy to encourage a more inclusive community and help individuals speak up for themselves
- Understand Ways of encouraging growth and opportunities and promoting independence.
Chuy Campuzano was born and raised in Chicago Illinois where he still resides. Growing up in Chicago he went through the special education system. After graduating he never received services from the Illinois Council of Developmental Disabilities as he was unaware and uninterested in long term services. Chuy was ashamed and felt isolated with his disability. Fortunately, he joined, Access Living, a Disability Rights Organization in 2008. He began to learn about individuals with all types of disabilities and to accept them. This led to Chuy becoming a leader in the advocacy community.
Chuy is a member of the Going Home Coalition and chairs the leadership committee. As a member of the WOW team Chuy plans and co-hosts the meetings and created the WOW Facebook Group. Chuy is a regular presenter at the Speak Up Speak Out Summit. His project “Dis Life …An historical perspective of Lives that matter” has allowed to conduct numerous interviews with individual in the disability community. Chuy believes that getting to know individuals and their strengths will lead to better outcomes in life. Everyone should be treated with respect and dignity!
As a 44-year-old black man with autism, Curtis serves as a self-advocate and champion for advancing issues related to the disability community. At the age of 4, Curtis was diagnosed with autism and predictions from ”experts” for his life were grim. His family and he ignored these predictions and he became the rst student with autism to enroll in the Chicago Public Schools system in January of 1984 . After graduating from Chicago Public Schools system in 1996, he attended college for a span of 10 years.
Curtis currently serves on the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities, is a member of Access Living's Racial Justice Advanced Your Leadership Power (AYLP) and other advocacy organizations at Access Living that focus on Housing and Home Services Attendant Curtis is a Board Member of the Chicagoland Autism Connection (CAC) and Vice President of a self-advocacy organization called CAC Trailblazers. Curtis is passionate about teaching us to treat individuals with respect and dignity and to get past the misunderstanding and stereotypes that many have about disability and to develop supports based on each individual.