Bridget Brown, a 'butterfly for change'

June 24, 2012 6:48:07 AM PDT
A Chicago-area woman with Down syndrome is preaching inclusion around the country, hoping to open doors for people with disabilities.

Bridget Brown, 26, is a champion. She has her own business, works at a dental clinic and is a national speaker who travels the country encouraging people with disabilities to "dwell in the possibilities."

"Life with people with Down's syndrome today is hard let me just say that," Bridget said, "and mainly because people don't value people with disabilities, even people with Down syndrome and so it's important to let people know that people with Down syndrome (are) a lot of help."

Bridget's accomplishments include being a national speaker, a board member of the National Down Syndrome Society and owner of a consulting organization called "Butterflies for Changes."

"That's an organization I started with a past plan and I go around and talk about inclusion and that helps to go through their business by growing different butterflies in different, certain areas," she said.

Her mother, Nancy, has been advocating for her daughter since she was born.

"She was the first included in our school district?so when I started advocating for her, it was really very soon," Nancy said. "I had a dream for inclusion for her because I had a lot of experience working with people with disabilities. I had a dream right from the very beginning that she would be included and have a full productive life."

Bridget has received numerous of awards.

"I'm most proud of getting the National Down Syndrome Award for 'Champions of Change' because I'm excited to get that award," Bridget said. "It was my co-worker (who) nominated me and all the hard work that I go through (talking) about disabilities and how to advocate for them."

Bell school Principal Sandra Caudill encourages all of her students to learn about people with disabilities.

"So that they leave here with a foundation of inclusion when they go out into their communities that they are more tolerant of people who have challenges and that it's something at the forefront of their mind and not an afterthought," Caudill said.

To learn more about Bridget or Down syndrome, visit www.ndss.org and www.butterfly4change.org.


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