While many people’s wildest dreams are to own a home, meet a celebrity, win a makeover or an extravagant trip – my dream is to advance the presence of all people with disabilities in the workplace and in society.
Why is this dream? … I am a young man with a hearing impairment.
When I was growing up, my mom laid me down to sleep and I prayed to God before removing my hearing aids. Each night I’d ask God to restore my hearing so I could hear “normally” like other kids. The next morning I’d wake up talking out loud hoping to hear my voice, hopeful that God granted my wish and that a miracle transformed my ears overnight. I’d hope I would no longer have to wear hearing aids.
However, God didn’t restore my hearing and my perspective on life has changed. I no longer pray for my hearing to be restored, but rather I recognize meaning exists to my reality. My abilities allow me to succeed as a person with a disability despite the physical, social and societal limitations I encounter. I was successfully raised in a hearing environment with the help of hearing aids, I graduated from high school and college, and I am now employed with a marketing firm in downtown Chicago.
How I am working to achieve my dream? … I live my dream everyday by advancing my presence in the workplace and in society.
As one of fifty-three million Americans with a disability and as one of six hundred million individuals living with a disability globally – I know I am lucky! Many people with disabilities have not been as fortunate as myself and continue to live in social isolation, are often subjected to stereotypes and misconceptions, and still experience discrimination – even with passage of disability civil laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act.
I don’t take my successes for granted and I live my life in a way that is representative of my dream. Each day, I work to advance my career goals and I grow my social networks. I foster positive interactions with people encouraging them to look beyond my disability and to recognize me for my abilities.
How can you help? … Help me empower people and impact society through stories.
The media and entertainment industry is limited in its accurate portrayal of people with disabilities. Insufficient and inaccurate information builds attitudinal barriers and perpetuates somewhat negative interactions between people with and without disabilities. People with disabilities too often are viewed based merely on their limitations and people without disabilities are ambivalent on how to positively interact with those who have limitations.
Yet, many individuals like myself have achieved extraordinary accomplishments while overcoming barriers resulting from our disabilities. We reveal the possibilities that exist for all people with disabilities. Our determination and faith in ourselves helped us overcome expectations placed on us by others because of our disability.Please let me share your stories of living with a disability and help me celebrate your extraordinary successes while overcoming your limitations.
Check out this blog often! This blog will serve as a source for inspiration to learn about people who achieve great things in spite of their disability. I'll also recount my own personal experiences about living with a disability. And, if you have questions about disabilities you want me to look into -- I'll do the research.
Through sharing stories, we can learn accurate information about specific disabilities and challenge ourselves to look beyond people’s limitations and embrace diversity. Welcome to the journey where we explore truth and watch it evolve creating a better world for all -- one that is inclusive of all.