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  • Photo: Mitchell Levitz and I at his home in Cortlandt Manor, New York.

    Mitchell Levitz's resume catalogues many pages of articles co-authored, speeches made, workshops led, boards and committees served on, and service to his community. He works as a disabilities specialist at the Westchester Institute for Human Development, where he teaches about self-advocacy, coordinates a self-advocacy group, and is a member of the self-determination research team. In addition to the numerous books and journal articles he has contributed to, he co-authored the book COUNT US IN: Growing Up with Down Syndrome. Born in 1971, Mitchell has Down syndrome, and I interviewed him about his experiences growing up, moving out, and pursuing a career in advocacy.

    Listen to all of Mitchell’s stories here:

    This is an edited excerpt from a life history interview I conducted for my thesis in the Oral History Master of Arts program at Columbia University, in which Mitchell Levitz shared with me his life experiences and reflected on his role as an advocate for himself and others with disabilities. The full interview was conducted on August 6, 2013, in Cortlandt Manor, New York, and will be submitted to the Regional Oral History Office at the University of California, Berkeley, for inclusion in the Disability Rights and Independent Living Movement archive. I will also submit a methodological paper providing context for and analysis of my process conducting and sharing life history interviews with self-advocates with Down syndrome to the Academic Commons at Columbia University. If you would like to know more about my process, please contact me here. With gratitude to the National Down Syndrome Society for their early support of this project.
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