31 Days of SMA: My Goal Is Helping Others Progress Toward Theirs

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by BNS Staff |

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Photo courtesy of Ali Ramos

Day 8 of 31

This is Ali Ramos’ (@kittylegs) story:

I started my career as a graphic designer, one who liked not having to interact with others unless it was about art. I felt intimidated to go back to school and dive into a field that involved communication and not creative skills. What if people don’t listen to me?

In summer 2014, I began to follow several disability activists to try to find “my people.” The ones with physical scars that transferred into policy changes. The ones so abused in the medical field that their experiences transferred into improving care. I felt alone in my little Texas city. My close circle was full of able-bodied individuals, which is great but it’s hard to relate in certain areas.

I began to feel static electricity in my skin when I read stories of activism and change. I knew I needed to back away from a computer screen and jump into the world of sharing my story. What if I could help people who otherwise had no hope? What if I could show youth with SMA that life, in fact, gets better?

I decided to make a move and met with an instructor at my local university. She told me social work would be the perfect path to travel if I wanted to focus on working with disabled people. I enrolled in college in 2016 and never looked back.

After countless hours, multiple degrees — a bachelor’s and a master’s in social work — several internships, and a handful of invaluable connections, I am now working toward gaining my clinical licensure. I work at home for a telehealth organization as a therapist specializing in disabilities and LGBTQ+ issues, at an Ivy League university as a faculty member, and at an independent living center. I’m doing what I love, helping others progress toward their life goals, and each employer is empathetic and understanding about my individual needs as a disabled person.

I’m so thankful for how far technology has come and the opportunity it has afforded me to succeed. Ali Ramos, LCSW, here I come!

SMA News Today’s 31 Days of SMA campaign will publish one story per day for SMA Awareness Month in August. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more stories like this, using the hashtag #31DaysofSMA, or read the full series.