IDD Health Matters EP 22: Overcoming Barriers & Celebrating Abilities with Justin Steinberg

In this inspiring episode of IDD Health Matters, Dr. Craig Escude engages in a profound conversation with Justin Steinberg, a research assistant at Stanford University, a board member of the American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry (AADMD), and a Special Olympics athlete and leader. At 33, Justin’s journey is a testament to resilience and multifaceted talent.

Key Highlights: Justin’s Background: Justin shares his journey, highlighting his roles as a research assistant, a self-advocate representative, a percussionist in a symphonic band, and his involvement in Special Olympics. Despite being on the autism spectrum and visually impaired, Justin has achieved remarkable academic success, including a master’s degree in special education. Advocacy and Public Speaking: Justin discusses his role as a Special Olympics Global Messenger, advocating for inclusion and fundraising. His advocacy extends to educating medical students on caring for people with intellectual disabilities and promoting respectful language. Health and Wellness: Justin opens up about his experiences with healthcare, emphasizing the importance of understanding and accommodating differing abilities. He shares insights into the challenges and benefits of telehealth, particularly for mental health services. Challenges in Transportation: A significant focus is placed on the challenges faced by individuals with disabilities in accessing reliable transportation, a crucial aspect of healthcare and social participation. Empowerment and Advice: Justin encourages listeners not to let labels define them and to find their niche in the world. He emphasizes treating people with disabilities as individuals first and understanding their unique needs and communication styles.

Conclusion: This episode is a blend of personal narrative, advocacy, and practical advice, offering listeners a deeper understanding of the experiences and capabilities of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Justin’s story is not just one of overcoming challenges but also of embracing and excelling in his diverse abilities. 

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