Meet Sharon daVanport, another influential member of Felicity House’s Self Advocate Advisory Board. Alongside Julia Bascom and Brigid Rankowski, Sharon is an activist working to empower women with autism and other people with disabilities.
Bio: Sharon daVanport is the founder and Executive Director of Autism Women’s Network. As an activist for disabled women, she is involved in a wide range of advocacy issues affecting people with disabilities, including employment, parenting rights, and health care for disabled women. Ms. daVanport is an Autistic woman living with additional physical disabilities stemming from Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling and spending time with her family.
What excites you most about joining the Felicity House Self Advocacy Advisory Board?
I appreciate that Felicity House is an intentional community, as it provides a clear understanding of what FH seeks to accomplish. I’m excited about how the women who attend FH feel about attending FH events and the sense of community they receive from being part of FH. It touched me deeply to hear their personal expressions of gratitude. I’m honored to be part of the Felicity House Self Advocacy Advisory Board.
What advice would you give your younger self?
You are the expert in your own life, and you know better than anyone what’s best for you!
What do you embrace most about your autism diagnosis?
It started me on my journey towards understanding my sensory and communication challenges. It’s helped me live up to the saying “When you know better, you do better.”
Who inspires you and why?
First, on a personal level, I’d have to say my children have been the greatest source of inspiration in my life. Each of them continues to provide me with endless opportunities to understand a unique and unconditional kind of love. Professionally speaking, I’m most inspired by all the volunteers at Autism Women’s Network. They have their own families and jobs outside of AWN, yet they selflessly give their time to further AWN’s mission of providing community and resources to autistic women and girls. Our organization would literally not exist without their dedication and hard work.
Who is your favorite fictional character?
J. Cregg from West Wing
Fun facts about Washington DC:
1. DC’s average rainfall is 39 inches of rain every year, which is more than Seattle.
2. Residents of DC couldn’t vote for the President until 1961.
3. Urban legend is that DC designer, Pierre L’Enfant hated John Jay, (the nation’s chief justice) so he left out J street. However, others state it’s really because in the 18th century, I and J were almost interchangeable.