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Alan's Story

Alan is a seasoned technology user, pursuing his master’s degree in Cybersecurity. He is passionate about combating challenges in the cyberspace and preventing individuals from falling victim to online crimes such as fraud, human trafficking, and identity theft. In his spare time, Alan enjoys playing video games and watching movies.

At 5 years old Alan received the diagnosis of muscular dystrophy.

“I do not see myself as disabled. I see myself as a normal kid with a physical disability. My disability does not define me. It has allowed me to do things most kids my age couldn’t, and go places that most kids couldn’t, as well as meet a lot of different people.”

– Alan

It is with this mindset that Alan navigates his life and new experiences. While he acknowledges the impact his disability has had on his life, it is not a defining factor of it.

“He’s only Alan.” said his mom, Michelle. “He’s not the kid in the wheelchair. He’s just Alan.” Alan connected with Disability Rights NJ to assist him with enforcing his rights to education and employment through access to appropriate vocational rehabilitation services. Alan’s family discovered during his high school years that he was neither being informed of nor being granted the rights he is entitled to as a student with a disability, such as choosing an employment goal in his field of choice and receiving support from an aide to assist him with his education through access to appropriate vocational rehabilitation services.

It was demoralizing  for Alan and his family when others were imposing limitations on his goals and making assumptions about his abilities based on his disability. “I don’t think a lot of parents know the ins and outs,” Michelle states. The barriers faced by Alan throughout his academic career highlight the need for further education and resources to be provided to both the disability community and those in positions created to serve individuals with disabilities. “It’s a shame that it’s not more knowledgeable. He has the right to have the same education as everyone else.”

Alan now serves as an advocate for himself and others with disabilities. Alan and Michelle’s goals are to work with Disability Rights NJ to make higher education more accessible for students with disabilities, as well as to ensure that everyone is informed of resources available to assist with their goals and independence.

Alan’s future goal is to secure a job within the field of cybersecurity, preventing cybercrime and rising to the challenges of a fast paced, ever evolving field.  Alan has met challenges head on with fortitude and perseverance.  Alan feels his disability has made him a stronger person and has taught him how to overcome any obstacle.