Our Blog

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...

It’s the Simple things

For those of us living with one or more disabilities, we are quite familiar with barriers. Whether they are physical barriers, barriers to employment, transportation, or medical care, or attitudinal barriers, they can sometimes seem overwhelming. But we also know that even the little steps in the right direction can go a long way. I have lived it in my own life, and now I see it in my job. It’s amazing how one simple thing can make such a huge difference for a person with a disability. One simple adapted ride on toy can give a child the ability of...

Nashville Celebrates 25 Years of the ADA!

This year, April 15th wasn’t just the final day to do our taxes. It was the day that the Center for Independent Living hosted an event honoring the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act--the ADA. The event lasted for about 2 hours and was held at a local community center. Mayor Carl Dean spoke about what the ADA means to him. In addition, advocates Carol Francisco, Kenton Dickerson and our very own Emily Hoskins spoke about the ADA’s impact on their lives. Carol and Kenton shared memories of life before the ADA. As a person who was born...

Kasondra…What Have CIL Services Meant To You?

For most people, the road to independence really opens up at sixteen, when they hold in their hands a shiny new piece of plastic and the keys to a parents’ car. The whole world is suddenly right there to go explore—at least for as long as there is gas in the tank. The possibilities are endless! But for some of us, myself included, that road to independence takes much longer to get through, and is often times a more difficult journey. I grew up in a household like that of many children with disabilities. There was a lot of love, but...