Ms. Wheelchair America 2007
Ms. Wheelchair Massachusetts 2006
I am Autumn Grant and
I was crowned Ms. Wheelchair Massachusetts 2006, on April 8th 2006. So far
it has been a most remarkable, positive and powerful experience. I have had
the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people both with and without
I was diagnosed at the age of 10 with Limb Girdle Muscular
Dystrophy, this came as quite a shock since I had been very physically
active, especially in dance. In 1996, shortly after graduating from college
I started using a wheelchair.
I have to admit it was a very
difficult transition to make. However, I soon learned that my wheelchair was
actually my key to a more independent life.
I received a BA in Humanities with a concentration in
Classics from Providence College, graduating summa cum laude and with the
Directors Award for Excellence in the Humanities in 1996. I also received my
MA in Higher Education Administration from Boston College in 2000. I hope to
begin working on my Ed.D in Higher Education Administration focusing on
students with disabilities in the fall of 2007.
currently serve as the Director of the Center for Academic Achievement at
Stonehill College. Not only do I coordinate services for students with
disabilities, I also run a college wide tutoring program and a summer
program for “at-risk” students. In addition, I advise undecided students and
teach 1-2 classes each semester. I really love what I do; I get such joy
from helping others succeed.
David Barner, Principal at Thatcher Elementary School and
Outside of work, I really enjoy volunteering. Currently I am
a “card angel” for a group called ChemoAngels. This group matches volunteers
with patients currently going though chemotherapy. I send my “buddy” a card
once a week to let him know that I am thinking about him. Recently I started
making my own cards and I have really enjoyed this experience. I am also a
literacy tutor at our local literacy center. I work with adults preparing to
take their GED. Because of my position as Ms. Wheelchair Massachusetts, I
was recently asked to join my city’s Council on Disability; and I have
gladly accepted this offer.
In my free time, I am
most happy when I am with my family, boyfriend, friends and babies (my two
dogs and five cats). I also enjoy reading, knitting, and traveling.
Thus far as Ms. Wheelchair Massachusetts, I have had the
opportunity to meet with my local state representative and attend a rally
for personal care attendants at the state house.
Recently, I had the
opportunity to meet two amazing women at an MDA event, Kristen Connors, Ms.
Wheelchair America 2006 and Stephanie Booth, Ms. Wheelchair Rhode Island
2006. Perhaps my most rewarding experience thus far was meeting
with three kindergarten classes and reading to them a great story about a
remarkable young girl, who uses a wheelchair. The children were so sweet and smart and
had such great questions; they already realize that people who use
wheelchairs are people just like them.
I cannot wait to go back. On the
agenda for the future, I will be meeting with our Governor’s Commission on
Disability, and attending a local MDA summer camp on VIP day, as well as
many other events still in the works.
Autumn Grant at the Massachusetts State House on April
12th for the Mass Live at Home Rally.
For the rest of my reign as Ms. Wheelchair Massachusetts, I
will be promoting my platform “Independence through Education”. The
statistics regarding women with disabilities with college degrees, full time
employment and those living below the poverty level are startling. I believe
that education is the first step towards obtaining independence and I will
spend my year working to eliminate barriers keeping some people with
disabilities from becoming involved in post secondary education.
Autumn with the rest of Nacho Average Team (mom Carol
Grant, dad Stan Grant, and boyfriend Kenny Bergeron) at the Muscular
Dystrophy Association Stride and Ride on May 21st. Autumn is not wearing
her crown because Ms. Wheelchair America, Kristen Connors, was also
Please feel free contact to me with any questions or requests
I cannot wait to meet everyone in Arkansas, this will
truly be a once in a lifetime, as well as, a life changing experience.