Valerie Joseph is 41 years old from Queens Village New York. Valerie was born with Myelomeningocele Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus. Valerie cannot walk so she uses a motorized wheelchair or manual wheelchair to get around depending on the day. She has a older brother.
Growing up felt “ normal” for Valerie Joseph. She was treated like any other child in her family. Valerie’s family did not shelter her, they thought Valerie was able to do much more than the average person. Valerie’s school sheltered her. Valerie went to a school for children who have disabilities for elementary years and middle school . Then Valerie transferred to her zone school which was mainstream.
School for Valerie was a breeze! When it came to peer pressure , she didn't experience any. When Valerie was in high school though, it was a little different. Valerie was with able bodied children as well as children who had disabilities. So, Valerie had to get accustomed to going around with people walking to and from classes. “ Itwas easy for me though” Valerie says .
Two years ago , Valerie competed in Miss wheelchair New York. Valerie felt that people needed to hear her. Valerie does not live the average life of somebody with a disability.
What did it take for Valerie and the other contestants to compete in the Ms Wheelchair competition? Each of the contestants , including Valerie had to talk about a platform that they believed in. Valerie spoke of accessibility for everyone .
Valerie goes above and beyond in everything she does . Valerie works at the Brooklyn Center for the independence of the disabled, as their access a ride advocate.In the future, Valerie plans to write a book.
Valerie’s advice for those who live with a disability is “Your disability is not the end of you. You have much more inside of you . Go and prove this to the world”! Valerie’s advice for parents who have or will have a special needs child is “ Just because you have a child with a disability such as Spina Bifida, it's not the end of the world. I have succeeded way longer than doctors had thought, and my life is not over.”