Micah's graphic. They are wearing a floral top and have short, brown hair. They're smiling at the camera

KYLEND Trainee Spotlight: Micah Peace Urquilla

Meet Micah Peace Urquilla! Micah is a 28 year old Queer, Autistic, and multiply Disabled self-advocate. Micah lives in Louisville with their husband Manny and their cat Sophie. Micah has been involved in Advocacy for around 6 years, and got started when they attended a summer leadership program hosted by the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network hosted in Washington D.C. in 2016. 

That summer was formative in their lifetime. Ever since, Micah has had the opportunity  to experience working and learning in a wide range of sites around the Disability Community on the local, state, and national levels, including Louisville’s Center for Accessible Living, Friends School of Louisville, the Kentucky Advisory Council on Autism, Showing up for Racial Justice, and others. 

They currently work as a Research and Training Assistant for the National Center for START Services, which supports people with I/DD and their families through mental health struggles. Additionally, Micah is a community organizer and peer support leader working with the Independence Seekers Project (ISP) in Louisville, and the Kentuckiana Autistic Spectrum Alliance (KASA). Micah graduated from Northern Kentucky University with a B.A. in Integrative Studies in 2018.

Micah is passionate about building Disability Culture and Community; building bridges between the parent- and self-advocate communities, and mentoring other Disabled people to help them discover and develop their own leadership and advocacy style and skills. Micah is an abolitionist and survivor of the Psychiatric system, and their work focuses on creating spaces and building relationships that empower people of all abilities to work together to dismantle the oppressive, interconnected systems of Racism & Ableism, and to support one another as they heal from our experiences with these oppressive systems. 

Micah is an interdisciplinary thinker with a wide range of experiences and interests. Their biggest conceptual areas of interest are how Disability intersects with trauma/mental health, and other marginalizing social experiences; Disability Culture, inclusion and belonging, how to build space together, education, peer mentoring and leadership development, and critical theory.

Micah is currently enrolled as a trainee in the University of Kentucky Human Development Institute’s Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) program. LEND is a five-year grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration Maternal and Child Health Bureau in partnership with the University of Louisville and Eastern Kentucky University. 

These programs share the overall mission of improving the health of infants, children, and adolescents with autism and other neurodevelopmental disabilities. LEND aims to increase the number of professionals with the knowledge and skills to provide evidence-based screening and diagnosis, as well as support to individuals and families.

Visit www.hdi.uky.edu/kylend to learn more. Contact the Kentucky LEND Project Director caroline.gooden@uky.edu with any questions or to schedule an informational session for your department and interested students!