Intersections of Race and Class in Special Ed Policy
    • About:

      Lydia Ocasio-Stoutenburg is a researcher and advocate for persons with disabilities and their families. She received her Dual Bachelor of Science Degree from Stony Brook University and Master of Science in Biology from Adelphi University and a second Master’s Degree in Special Education at St. Thomas University in 2014. Lydia is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Special Education at the University of Miami. Lydia’s advocacy work began in 2010 with a journey of complete personal and professional transformation. Based on test results during her pregnancy with her fifth child, doctors informed her of the increased likelihood that her child would have Trisomy 21, Down Syndrome. When she refused to put her child at risk by undergoing more rigorous testing, the doctors responded with a pessimistic and deficit-based view of carrying a child with a disability to term and poor prognosis for life. She firmly believes in overcoming the deficit-based perspective by creating stronger communities, raising awareness and fostering hope. To this end, she has completed The Florida Developmental Disabilities Council’s Partners in Policymaking Class of 2015, a statewide program that develops advocates and self-advocates among parents of persons with disabilities and persons with disabilities. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of Parent-to-Parent of Miami and is cofounder of the Miami EmployABILITY Movement, a multimedia initiative to reduce the employment gap for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.