Recap of the National Self Advocacy Conference

National Self Advocacy Conference

This weekend I had the opportunity to participate as an exhibitor representing Assistance Animals Consulting, at the National Self Advocacy Conference, theme, “Self Advocates Becoming Empowered” in Birmingham, Alabama.

As the conference website states, Disability Rights are Civil Rights. The logo and theme emphasizes that People with Disabilities want to pursue freedom just like everyone else. It is a right that belongs to all Americans with a disability and we felt it symbolizes “Freedom!” Disability rights are civil rights. Self Advocates Becoming Empowered is an organization to help everyone to know and apply their everyday civil rights. The National Self-Advocacy Conference has always been a great place for people to learn, grow and advocate with their peers and allies who truly support civil rights.

This conference is composed of attendees from all over the United States. The participants had various backgrounds and many had disabilities in different forms, visible and non-visible. I had the opportunity to engage with the conference attendees as well as with other exhibitors. The most enlightening conversation I had was with attendee Joe Canto who said the following:

Dr Houston and Joe at the National Self Advocacy Conference
Dr Houston and Joe
“We are all unique. Just like this bag I’m holding is unique and made of different parts. All those unique parts come together and makes this special bag. So you see, being different and unique can be great if we can just come together.”

Thank you Joe for the conversation! Your words were empowering! As the founder of Assistance Animals Consulting, I bring my unique gift of love for animals and I’ve combined it with my passion to be of service to others. To other disability advocacy groups, let us combine our unique gifts to make something more special! Let us come together and be great!!

Rhesa Houston, DVM


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