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Not-So-Popular Perspective on Employment for People with Disabilities

Kristin Smedley on stage with quote in text: Communicating your unique talents is key to gaining employment and impacting the unemployment crisis." - Kristin Smedley

In a world that often views disability through a narrow lens, the high unemployment rate among people with disabilities persists as a stark reminder of the challenges they face. But there’s a hidden truth behind this statistic – one that goes beyond society’s biases against those with vision loss and other disabilities.

On one side of the equation, there’s the issue of pervasive bias. People frequently focus solely on the perceived disadvantages of vision loss or disability, overlooking the unique skills, talents, and experiences that individuals bring to the table.

Here’s where the other side of the story comes into play – people with disabilities often spend too much time trying to fit in, to be just like everyone else, that they forget to, or aren’t confident enough to leverage their distinct strengths. It’s time for a paradigm shift; it’s time to focus on your competitive advantages.

A Personal Story

Let me share this personal story that exemplifies this shift. My younger blind son, Mitch, was having trouble finding summer employment. He met with a coach, my Thriving Blind Academy partner Charlie Collins, to learn how to change his own viewpoint on navigating the job-seeking process. This transformative experience was the first step in realizing the untapped potential within him.

As Mitch embarked on his job search, employers in our hometown had the opportunity to see “The Greatest Equalizer,” a short film I co-created. The film, catering to the IT niche, opened their minds to possibilities and a potential game-changer. They were ready to make adaptations for Mitch to work in a retail position.

kristin and mitch smiling
Kristin and Mitch at the Premiere of The Greatest Equalizer

But Mitch, with new insight from Charlie’s coaching, recognized that the quick-fix of buying an accessible cash register was not the perfect solution for him or the company. So, he took the initiative to share his unique skills, talents, and experiences with them, emphasizing the value he could bring to their organization. This proactive approach led to a more fitting role for Mitch, where he spent his summer entertaining hundreds of people who visited the establishment. He proved, through his talents, that blind individuals are just as capable and fun as anyone else.

Know and Communicate Ability in Disability

While so many are working to change the narrative around disability in the workforce, it’s high time that people with disabilities recognize their distinctive talents and abilities and take responsibility to communicate them. Your unique skills are your competitive edge. Embrace them, celebrate them, and share them with the world. The workforce is enriched when we appreciate the diversity of experiences and talents that each individual brings.

For everyone in the workforce, consider this a call to action. Check out the trailer to “The Greatest Equalizer” at www.ThrivingBlindAcademy.org/film. Consider booking a screening or workshop to expand your perspective on the incredible abilities of individuals with disabilities. Let’s break down the barriers, challenge the status quo, and create a world where uniqueness and diversity are celebrated, not hidden.

What Blind/Low Vision Job Seekers Can Do

For those job seekers that are blind or low vision, reach out to Thrivers@ThrivingBlindAcademy.org to join our community and empower yourself to gain employment in the job you want. In embracing your unique strengths, you can transform the way the world sees disability and unlock a world of opportunities. Your competitive edge is waiting to be discovered, shared, and celebrated. Embrace it.

Discover the power of embracing ability and advantage in disability through Kristin Smedley’s transformative books, impactful speaking engagements, enlightening workshops, and thought-provoking films. Dive into her best-selling book “Thriving Blind” on Amazon, and elevate your next event by booking Kristin at kristinsmedley.com to ignite conversations that foster inclusivity and empowerment.

cover of what i can be is up to me cover with text The book that does good

Get the children's book that not only empowers children to believe in themselves and see their unique abilities, 100% OF THE PROCEEDS of this book go to programs at Thriving Blind Academy to empower families raising blind children to thrive!

Kristin Smiling a huge smile with autumn trees behind her
About Kristin Smedley

Kristin Smedley is a visionary leader who empowers individuals, teams, and organizations to unlock their hidden potential and gain a competitive edge. Kristin, a TEDx speaker, best selling author, nonprofit founder x2, business owner, and acclaimed filmmaker, leaves audiences on their feet cheering and wanting more of her energy and influence.

Kristin has spent her lifetime studying people that succeed without sight and discovering those repeatable systems and strategies that cause a  competitive advantage. 

As a single mom with a signature smile that has raised three children (two of which are blind) to surpass all grim expectations and out- achieve everyone around them, Kristin leaves a lasting impact on those fortunate enough to experience her powerful presentations.

the book thriving blind

Find out how Kristin went from crying on the couch over her two son’s diagnosis of blindness, to raising them to thrive! Download the Introduction chapter of Kristin’s Best Selling Book Thriving Blind: Stories of Real People Succeeding Without Sight. Click the button below!

Thriving Blind Academy!

Join the community with a vibe of THRIVE! Our mentors, live programs and online portal guide Parents of blind/VI children and blind/VI young adults and adults to create lives they are excited to live!