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Diana Braun and Carrie Bergeron are available to hold workshops on self-advocacy – if you are interested in hosting a talk or workshop, please contact us at

About Diana Braun

Diana Braun spent much of her early life in institutions run by the state of Illinois.  Diagnosed with Down syndrome at eight years old, she was removed from an abusive family who, in her own words, “could not handle [her] disability.”  Diana, with her dear friend Kathy Conour, has spent her adult life working to help people with disabilities live independently.  Diana met Kathy, who had cerebral palsy, in a sheltered workshop over forty years ago.  She took on the ambitious job of Kathy’s personal assistant, and together they left the workshop and lived independently until Kathy’s death in 2009.  Diana and Kathy became passionate and powerful advocates for the rights of people with disabilities, and their pioneering friendship is the subject of Alice Elliott’s award-winning documentary Body & Soul: Diana & Kathy.  Diana continues to work with state and national agencies for people with disabilities, and has spoken on independent living, self-advocacy, and emergency preparedness for people with disabilities nationally and abroad.  She still lives independently in the home she and Kathy built together.

About Carrie Bergeron

Carrie Bergeron is a former board member of the National Down Syndrome Congress and currently serves on the Self-Advocacy Council, sharing her experiences to give insights and encouragement to others with Down syndrome. She has been the recipient of the National Down Syndrome Society Voices award, as well as the NDSC’s Christian Pueschel Memorial Citizenship award. She is a daughter, sister, volunteer, teacher’s assistant for toddlers with special needs, first degree black belt, friend, student, pioneer, dancer, and motivational speaker. As she is fond of saying, “I have taken the “dis” from disability and made it my ability to advocate for those of us with special needs.”