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Yesse Leyva is thirty-one years old from Hollywood, FL. Yesse was born with a birth defect called Spina Bifida Myelomeningocele, Yesse was also paralyzed at birth. Doctors said Yesse would not make it very far, they said she would never go to college or drive. Today, Yesse can do all those things. She drives an adaptive vehicle. Yes she has many doctor appointments, and bladder issues, but she definitely can not complain! Yesee also walks with a cane. Growing up, Yesse had many difficulties. Surgeries, physical therapy and the lack there of. Yesse had to seek other forms of therapy but she says that she thinks her biggest issue was the school system.To the school system, it was a good idea to label her as having a learning disability too! So, Yesse struggled and even had to fight for her regular high school diploma. Yesse got it! As a child, Yesse was always treated normally, she was a happy kid even though she spent a lot of time in the hospital with a fever. Yesse was never limited and also was taught to never say I can't! Driving was also a challenge. One driving instructor said Yesse would never drive again. She even revoked her license and of course she was wrong! As an adult, Yesse has grown independent and proud! Yesse can drive, work, and she can do things for herself. Unfortunately due to the income restriction of Medicaid and Medicaid Waiver, Yesse like many others are forced to work part time or not at all. She feels forced to live at home and not make more money because she needs her healthcare and it upsets her, she says "that's not fair" ! In her Spare time, Yesse likes to write, swim , host and volunteer. Yesee dislikes discrimination and cream cheese . Yesse loves chocolate and spending time with kids. Yesse’s advice for parents is to teach your child to be as independent as possible. Teach them to embrace their differences and not to be ashamed of it! Teach them to have empathy for others. Involve them in an inclusive environment as much as possible, and lastly fight for inclusion in the school system. Educate yourself more and never depend on the "professionals" to know it all. Yesse’s advice for those living with a disability would be to.... NEVER GIVE UP! You never know who's watching and who is not giving up because you're not giving up! Seek your talents and ABILITIES! Surround yourself by people that can help you be successful! Have mentors!

Never allow a disability to define you! Educate yourself about the disability.

You need to know know your weaknesses. You need to know that asking for help is not a bad thing! It is ok to ask for help! Only you know what is best for YOU! Stop depending on others all the time! Educate yourself on your benefits, medical information, records, school business because it's your responsibility and not just your parents! And if you need guidance or knowledge on a subject, call me!

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