Derek Heard headshot, smiling at camera

Derek is a 21-year-old self-advocate and artist who lives in Albany, Georgia and attends Lee County High School. As an artist, Derek believe that a picture can say a lot, and he has used his love of art to help spread the message of equality around the rights of people with disabilities. He is especially passionate about disability voting rights and supports this mission as a board member of Uniting for Change, a network of self-advocates, and REV Up Georgia. 

Outside of disability advocacy, Derek enjoys food, graphic design, painting, drawing and playing video games. In the future, Derek hopes to one day become a professional character design artist.

Read Derek’s supported decision-making story under Youth Stories!

Derek's Showcase

Through his artwork, Derek shares how he makes decisions and how supported decision-making helps him use his voice. He talks about himself as the director and producer of his own life.

Other Content

Derek’s Supported Decision-Making Journey

Derek and his mom share why it is important to Derek to make his own decisions and what supported decision-making means to him. He shares his supported decision-making journey using an analogy of when he was a baby in a rear-facing car seat in the back seat of the car, and his mom in the driver’s seat. He shows how this position changed as he grew and started making more choices for himself and eventually, directing where the car went. This video is 24 minutes long. Watch a shorter version of Derek’s video.

Derek and other Youth Ambassadors sit down for a discussion about alternatives to guardianship in their states for the Self-Determination channel hosted by Ashley Mathy.