Hi, I'm Amy, a licensed clinical social worker with spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy, a condition caused by trauma to the brain, usually during or shortly after birth. All four of my limbs are affected by this condition, and because of high muscle tone (muscles that are constantly tight and contracted), I struggle to move and control the muscles in my arms and legs. As a result, my limbs are often stiff, and they don’t always do what I want them to do. I can walk with a walker, but I utilize a power wheelchair and a service dog for independence and mobility in my daily life.
At the age of 13, I was going in for yet another routine surgery when I had an encounter with the social worker that changed my life. She approached me and asked if I needed to talk to her regarding my upcoming surgery. I politely told her no, and stated that I had been through this before. Then she told me that I could talk to her because she knew what it was like to be me. This woman appeared to have no visible signs of disability, and I can remember thinking to myself, no one knows what it's like to be me.
After that encounter, I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to become a social worker to help individuals with disabilities and their families. Not because I knew what it was like to be them, but because I knew what it was like to be me as a person with a disability. In October 2016, I also felt called to step out on faith and way out of my comfort zone to write a book and become a motivational speaker.