One of the largest barriers associated with having NVLD is employment. I’ve been fortunate enough to of had several employment experiences alongside neurotypicals. These various experiences have negatively reinforced ableism and the isolating experiences that individuals with invisible disabilities such as myself face on a daily basis. Asking for verification, taking longer to process information and doing tasks a little bit differently should never determine my worth.
We live in a society which continually reinforces “normal” and “fast” with increasingly high expectations. If someone doesn’t perform tasks as “normal” as possible we place criticism and judgement upon someone’s character. We live in a checkbox society, which creates barriers for those with disabilities to seek meaningful employment. It wasn’t until my final year of child and youth work during my placement in an elementary school where I found my seven-year old self in some of the students who were begging for a form of solidarity but were misunderstood by frustrated teachers. Through this as well as my own personal experience, I decided to take it on faith and become an entrepreneur. Building a business from the ground up and creating a vision only I could see was the scariest thing I had ever done in my life. I knew absolutely nothing about business however, I knew I wanted to bring my dream alive. Last year, I stood on a stage and pitched my business idea “Beautiful Minds” in a business pitch competition and won first place! For someone who hates public speaking and battles with anxiety, that was probably the scariest moment of my life! I’ve invested money, countless hours and sleepless nights into building something I never thought would be possible. That’s the funny thing about having NVLD, it can surprise you at the most unexpected time.
Beautiful Minds offers a neurodiversity perspective on learning disabilities which enhances resiliency, builds self-worth and self-esteem. With sweat, tears, passion and determination I built Beautiful Minds through the vision of allowing others with learning disabilities to embrace the idea of “seeing the ability.” I want to embrace my disability and construct a new dimension to humanity which moves beyond the label. I want to guide others out of their own darkness and illuminate a pathway of change. I am not defined by my disability, and my experiences have led me on a journey to cultivate change.
I’m a graduate of the Child & Youth Worker program from Cambrian College and I’m pursuing my degree in Disability Studies at Ryerson University along with a certificate in Aboriginal Knowledges & Experiences. I am a Project Social Ambassador for The NVLD Project.