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Art Can (and should) Transcend Disabilities

Attending the Frist Center for the Visual Arts family festival on November 12, 2017 was more than just a free fun event to share with my husband and children. It was a chance to demonstrate to my loved ones, and myself, how art can and should be experienced by all. Since substantially losing sight and receiving rehabilitation services, I have set a personal goal annually – goals specifically pertaining to independent living skills development and embracing life as a person with a disability. My 2017 goal was: Find new ways to enjoy art again. Throughout the year I have been challenging...

Thoughts from an Employed Person with a Disability

Education? Check. International experience? Check. Functionally proficient in a second language? Check. Volunteer activities and community involvement? Check. Vocational rehabilitation? Check. Stellar resume with relevant work history? Check. Interview practice? Check. I’m ready to job search! This was running through my mind in spring of 2014 as I proudly accepted my Certificate of Completion with exemplary status from the Tennessee Rehabilitation Center in Smyrna, TN. I was even presented with an Excellence in Leadership Award by State Representative Dawn White. I thought if anyone could defy the statistics on job seekers with disabilities, it would be me. I applied for over...

Not An Ordinary Ride Home

Smart phone? Check. Wallet? Check. Office keys? Check. Cane? Check. I went through my routine checklist today as I prepared for my hour and a half trek home from work. With all necessities in tow, the respectful driver gently assisted me into the para-transit vehicle for my usual trip to my Davidson County border transfer point. However, this turned out to be no ordinary ride. Sometimes I socialize with other passengers, and even network. Sometimes I reflect upon my productivity of the day and consciously gear my mind up for family responsibilities and evening activities. Sometimes I utilize this stretch to...

The Value of Comics

I recently came across a friend’s Facebook post stating that she was ecstatic her son with dyslexia was reading…unprompted…on his own…for fun. Although not a personal fan of the post-apocalyptic genre herself, she could not help but be thrilled and feel proud when she witnessed him voluntarily reading a Walking Dead graphic novel with enthusiasm. As long as comics have existed, parents have been concerned about their literary value, but this breakthrough moment in this dear mother’s life awakened a newfound understanding for us both. According to the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity, comics can strengthen an individual’s reading...

Community Based Transition Program: A Welcomed Extension of the Empower TN Family

Ritu Ghatourey once stated, “One of the bravest things you can do is acknowledge and support the strength in others.” Bravery is exactly what I have witnessed in the participants of the MNPS Community Based Transition Program or CBTP, peer support groups. I started working for Empower Tennessee last July 2016, and began leading peer support group discussions last October. In the few months I have had the privilege to facilitate them, I have seen students exhibit true courage in their willingness to openly and honestly mentor each other. While becoming ever more self-aware and expressive, every student is evidence...

Spontaneity & Access–Can the Two Co-Exist?

One hot Saturday morning, I had an intense craving for food from one of the taco trucks in Hermitage. Thankfully, one of my good friends just happened to be experiencing the same craving. We had not previously planned a trip to and from this establishment, so the first question we had to answer was the issue of transportation. We decided to use one of the ridesharing apps on our phones. These apps (i.e. Lyft, Uber, etc.) are designed so that, when one needs a ride, they can enter into the app, input their location and request a ride. Some of...