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Intellectual Disabilities and Women’s Health

Intellectual Disabilities and Women’s Health

Host Keerthi launches the program with a description of intellectual disabilities. “According to the American Psychiatric Association, intellectual disabilities affect intellectual and adaptive functioning, which means that individuals with intellectual disabilities generally struggle with critical thinking and learning (the intellectual part) and living daily life as an independent human being (the adaptive part). Approximately 1% of the population is affected.” Down Syndrome is one of many genetic syndromes that cause intellectual disabilities. She interviews author Melissa Hart with her newest novel, Daisy Woodworm Changes the World, about a 13-year-old track star, Daisy, who decides to help her brother, Sorrel--who has Down syndrome and adores Special Olympics and men’s fashion--fulfill his dream of becoming a YouTube influencer. Melissa based parts of the book on her life with her brother and provides practical advice for young people to write and get published. Keerthi moves on to the topic of women’s health and empowerment with teen guest, Sanya Somani, an avid youth changemaker passionate about entrepreneurship and social advocacy. Sanya co-founded a nonprofit organization, HealthForHER, that is dedicated to helping provide necessary health and educational resources for underserved women and their families. Using our voices and actions, we learned that anybody, regardless of who they are, can make a difference in today's world.

BIO: Melissa Hart

Oregon journalist Melissa Hart is the author of the middle-grade novels Daisy Woodworm Changes the World, and Avenging the Owl, as well as Better with Books: 500 Diverse Books to Ignite Empathy and Encourage Self-Acceptance in Tweens and Teens. She grew up near Los Angeles with her brother who has Down syndrome, and she taught people with intellectual and disabilities for several years before moving to Oregon to write full-time. Her essays and articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Smithsonian, CNN, Nat Geo Kids, and numerous other publications. In her free time, she loves to hike, bike, kayak, run, and hang out with her husband, teen daughter, and four cats, four chickens, and one very patient rescued terrier. She loves Ben and Jerry’s Mint Chocolate Cookie ice cream, and she loves searching Pacific Northwest forests for mushrooms--just don’t make her eat them! Instagram/Twitter/TikTok @WildMelissaHart

BIO: Sanya Somani

Sanya Somani, a junior at Phoenix Country Day School. She is passionate about social advocacy, business/entrepreneurship, and fitness. Sanya enjoys traveling, athletics, and the arts.She co-founded a nonprofit organization, HealthForHER, that is dedicated to helping provide necessary health and educational resources for underserved women and their families. Her organizational and leadership skills have guided HealthForHER to an international scale with ambassadors in five countries. In addition, Sanya is a member of the National Charity League’s Camelback Chapter, in which she has served many leadership roles such as president, tea chair, and nominating committee member. Through this, she continues to further her passion for social advocacy by volunteering and coordinating numerous charity events. In her free time, Sanya enjoys traveling, fitness, and the arts.Instagram - @healthfor.her

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