I was born in Latvia in 1988, I was born prematurely and was given up at the hospital then I was sent to a soviet institutional orphanage. They discovered my autistic nature, I lived there for five and half years. I was adopted by the Anderson family in 1994.
I was raised most of my life in Bonney lake Washington where I lived with my loving mother, father and older sister. Growing up the world had a hard time understanding me and I had a hard time understanding the world. This made sudden parts of my childhood and youth rough. I was bullied a lot. People did not see value in me which in turn caused me to devalue myself. But the Lord put people in my life that help me see my value and my skills.
My mother who did not give up on my learning even when the school was wanting to give up on teaching me to read. My father who give me high expectations that pushed me to my limits and challenged me to keep going forward. My friends who accepted me just the way I am and made me see that I was worth it. Counselors who helped me learn about my own emotions and helped me gain self-awareness. My faith that showed me that I was made for a unique purpose.
I have had hard lessons that changed the course of my life, But with support and a deep determination and passion I was able to keep on the path to my goal of showing all that we are worth the chance to live and we are skilled people that can contribute much to society. I am a prideful DD citizen, who wants all people of my community to be treated as equals. When I graduated high school my mother encouraged me to go to community college. The counselor did not think I belonged but my mother and I were not going to accept no for an answer. So I stuck through community college and graduated with honors.
After my time there I went to an employment agency for people disabilities to help me found work. However the job they gave me turned out to be abusive. I dealt with name calling, unwanted physical contact, and shoving. I did not know how to get out. I was stuck there for a year. This became what inspired me to go back to school and I found out my degree for pierce community college could transfer to a university which made it so I did not have to deal with the SAT. I applied to Central Washington University and they accepted me.
My time at central was a time of healing for me. It also was a time that helped me regain my passion. I started getting heavily involved with fellow students with disabilities on campus. I started to learn about disability social justice. I worked as a student programmer for their center for diversity and social justice and held an officer position as vice president in a student disability advocacy organization. I chose history as my major. For my senior thesis I wrote about the history of American eugenics movement and how it criminalized people with intellectual/developmental disabilities. When I graduated with my bachelor of art in history I realized I wanted to be disability civil rights activist and try to stop the abuse of people with I/DD.
I am also involved with the autistic pride movement and want to spread autistic acceptance. I got involved with the Arc of King County who give me an internship and helped me get with the UW Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities program where I became the first autistic Advocate UW LEND fellow. I have testified in Olympia on different issues that affect people with I/DD. I love what I do, it is my passion and I'm going to keep doing it.