My daughter has a diagnosis… My daughter’s skills are considered to be limited… My daughter cannot interact with others… My daughter cannot do this or that…
That’s what many consider will happen to an individual with a diagnosis or diverse abilities.
I say… crapola to all of them…
I choose to interact and respect those who support individuals with a diagnosis, who do not see limits, who welcome interaction and who realize everyone can do something.
These are key elements to expose your child, teen and adult to entrepeneurship. Yes, that powerful word that builds skills that will last a lifetime. Above all, developing responsibility and independence.
This is no easy feat. This takes years to practice. It takes tons of patience. It takes the willingness and desire to accept your child will do things differently and achieve success.
Just remember they cannot do it alone. They need support and guidance. They need help. Repetition is key.
What can you do?
Do you as a parent have what it takes to make it happen? To achieve success? Of course you do! We all do have the capacity to work out the kinks of entrepeneurship. And as long as you are ready to seek support form your network and put aside preconceived notions… You will guide your child/teen/adult with diverse abilities to success.
I’ve begun the process. A recent, beyond magnificent, experience as a vendor at Beale Street Art Crawl in Memphis TN confirms this is the road to travel with my daughter and her abilities.
She has an incredible story.
She has talent.
She has charm.
She is curious.
She has family and friends that support her.
She still has a lot to learn.
The challenges she faces at this early stage of her life cannot be prioritized. Yes, they must be handled, managed, survived… but they cannot rule the dynamics of her existence. And the various mainstream organizations we approach cannot only see or emphasize the challenges.
This is why the media, businesses, organizations and downtown commissions need to fully support individuals with diverse abilities — in whichever field they excel at —
Bring on the Big Guns!
For example… the big organizers of well known art shows in big cities must include artists with diverse abilities. They must consider their lack of funds and open the door to include them in their well attended gatherings. The presence of an artist with diverse abilities does not represent an extra expense. On the contrary, it can mean greater media exposure. It can mean compliance with ADA. It can mean the realization that exclusivity does not represent quality.
Myself and countless families welcome the opportunity to discuss in detail the steps to take to make this a reality.
There are many steps we still need to take. But the ones taken so far are beyond meaningful.
Now, it is up to others to openly support and accept the value many individuals like my daughter bring to their organizations. And I will continue to remind them!
See/Read her Retrospective
PBS Documentary – Featured Guests: Autism Breakthrough to Hope
** READ THIS REPORT FROM THE OECD
ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND SELF-EMPLOYMENT BY PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
Background Paper for the OECD Project on Inclusive Entrepreneurship John Kitching Kingston University