Otto Lana

Otto is a 19-year-old high school senior in San Diego and self-advocate who champions the right to communicate. He has presented at many conferences across the nation and served on many projects and organizations.

Otto advocates for the rights of those with speech-related disabilities and lobbies for more funding for communication access, especially in learning environments. He is also passionate about educating others on access and support of a robust system of communication (especially alternative augmentative communication). His work also involves changing the depictions of individuals with disabilities in the media.

Otto is a member of the Office of Administrative Hearings Advisory Committee for the Department of Developmental Services, and a Youth Advisory Board Member for the Center for Applied Science and Technology for Universal Design Learning. He co-created a book club for Autism Tree, has a poetry award and a day in California named after him, and is a recipient of the Heumann-Armstrong Award and the Harry Servidio Memorial Leadership Award.

Otto and his two best friends formed the MOD Squad, which is an enterprise and a force for change. He runs a successful e-commerce website, selling waterproof letterboards and apparel sporting the motto “Everyone Belongs Here”. Nothing is more important than the sharing feeling of belonging. We is you and me. “WEEEE!” is the feeling of being included. One of Otto’s Mottos is “Be the type of change you wish to see in others.” Otto is also active on Instagram: @otto_types & @modsquad4access.