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Advocate Profile: Alania Dimitriou

Image of Aliana smiling with a beautiful Hawaiian landscape behind her.

Who is Alania? My name is Alaina Dimitriou, I recently graduated from the University of Scranton with a Masters Degree in Occupational Therapy. I am currently seeking employment as an Occupational Therapist in New York. I hope to work and serve people who have varying disabilities to assist them in becoming as independent as possible in their activities of daily living.

What is your advocacy platform? As an occupational therapist, it is my responsibility to serve people living with disabilities. I may have the opportunity to work with people who are recently diagnosed with a disability, or those who have lived with a disability for the entirety of their lives. Despite the stage of life the individual is in, it is my role to help them recognize that they have the ability to live their life as they desire. I hope that through my career I can change my clients' perspective to understand that their disability will not limit them unless they allow it to do so. I hope to provide them with the tools and community resources that will promote their optimal success, independence, and quality of life.

Who was the person/role model who inspired you to look into disability advocacy? Why/how did they inspire you? When I was a sophmore in college I became a personal care attendant for an individual living with a disability called Arthrogryposis. Under his direction, it was my responsiblity to assist him with his daily tasks including feeding, toileting, and dressing. I had the opportunity to learn about about his incredible career as a disability rights advocate. He created the first Center for Independent Living in Pennsylvania and continues to serve on local councils to advocate and protect the rights of persons living with disabilities throughout the state of Pennsylvania. During the 4 years of working with this individual, I was able to get a small glimpse into the life of a person living with a disability. Unfortunately, I saw the realities of inaccessible buildings, negative social stigma, and limited resources for people living with disabilities. This resilient individual showed me the importance of advocating for people living with disabilities and inspired me to become an advocate for disability rights and serve those living with disabilities to improve their quality of life.

What are your next steps? As a recent Occupational Therapy graduate, I hope to find a job that will allow me to serve people living with varying disabilities in order to better their quality of life and improve their level of independence in desired tasks of daily living.

How do we follow you?! instagram: alainadimitriou

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