Meet our Honorees: Carol Curtin

At PYD’s upcoming benefit event, we will be honoring Ernst & Young and a handful of individuals for their commitment to the inclusion and mentoring of youth with disabilities. Dr. Carol Curtin is one of our honorees, selected for her 30 years of compassionate work and research to support people with developmental disabilities and behavioral health disorders and their families. She was also a key collaborator and author on PYD’s recently published study on the effects of mentoring on youth with autism.

Learn more about Carol below!

Why is mentoring important to you?
Mentoring represents a profound way that two people can connect: mentors enhance the growth and development of their mentees through support, guidance, a special kind of friendship, and role-modeling. Mentoring takes a strengths-based approach by supporting mentees in areas that they identify as being important; through the mentoring relationship mentees are supported to develop further their strengths and interests and to achieve goals they set out for themselves. Moreover, mentors see their mentees’ potential — they often see something in mentees that mentees doesn’t see themselves. This can be a tremendous source of inspiration, self-confidence, and motivation.

Why is inclusion important to you?
In my view, everyone has an inalienable right to live in the community and be a part of community life in ways that they choose. Disability is a natural part of the human experience, and oftentimes what renders a person disabled is not their disabling condition but the societal barriers that they encounter. Inclusion is important because we must strive toward creating a society where everyone has a rightful place and belongs. We must embrace neurodiversity and reject abelism wherever and whenever possible.

Tell us about something awesome you’re working on.
I have so many interesting things that I’m working on! I am proud of our Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) program where we train people to be leaders in the disability field. We educate professionals, clinicians, family members, people with disabilities, and other individuals to develop their leadership skills and effect systems change. The overall goal of the LEND program is to ensure that services and supports are individual- and family-centered, culturally competent, inclusive, and community-based. I also enjoy the research projects my colleagues and I currently are working on; we have a variety of health promotion projects that focus on nutrition, physical activity, and weight management for young people with autism spectrum disorder and intellectual/developmental disabilities.

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