Growing up with multiple learning disabilities I was frequently reminded of the things that I couldn’t do, or what I was not good at. One time in high school my geometry teacher told my parents, “Amy’s disability prevents her from understanding the way I teach.” THE WAY I TEACH!? Well, there's the problem! I was constantly forced to adapt to my surrounding environment, instead of the environment being inclusive and adapting to the way I learned. Today I am thankful for all the obstacles and adversity I faced growing up because from a young age I learned to adapt frequently and advocate for myself. I feel that my obstacles made me stronger and more resilient.
But first, let me back up a little bit and introduce myself. My name is Amy Ader. Today I am the owner and founder of disXABILITY, a disability awareness brand that empowers individuals in the disabled community to overcome the limiting beliefs that society has placed on the word “disability.” I do this by providing our community with the tools to create conversations around self-advocacy, acceptance, and personal growth.
Throughout my life, I have had the opportunity to experience a variety of diverse perspectives that have brought me to where I am in my career today. I have 10 years of experience in teaching early childhood education and special education, where I taught in a self-contained autism & emotional disabilities classroom. I was a family support advocate and human services case coordinator for “at-risk” families and families with children with special needs. I represented a grant for a non-profit organization and engaged in community development and outreach, speaking to multiple schools, and county departments. I was chosen to sit on the board for The Mental Health Community Action Council in my local county. I am trained and certified in trauma-informed care, crisis prevention & intervention, mental health first aid, adverse childhood experiences, and stages of trauma & recovery. Lastly, I was inducted into three international honor societies and graduated magna cum laude from Colorado State University Global. Now I am the owner of disXABILITY.
I also have multiple learning disabilities including dyslexia, dyscalculia, a slower executive processing speed, and attention deficit disorder. It’s important to follow my professional accomplishments with my personal reality because the biggest thing that contributed to my success has been the ability to overcome the greatest challenge and obstacle of my life; my learning disabilities Growing up was not easy for me. From the age of five, I had to work twice as hard as my peers and still couldn’t keep up. I struggled with being different from my peers. I battled with emotions of failure, frustration, guilt, shame, and defeat. No matter how hard I tried, I always felt like I was coming up short, left behind, and different.
Each day through disXABILITY’s social media I share the stories of different individuals and families from all over the world who have one thing in common; they all are a part of this thing called the “disability community.” Chances are if you are reading this blog post that you know the community I am talking about. The disabled community is a diverse group of people that do not look the same, love the same, vote the same, talk the same or even believe the same. BUT it’s because of all the differences that we are able to come together and see the humanity in each other, and in that humanity, we find the greatness and ABILITY that lives inside each and every person. I think that's why I am so passionate about disability acceptance, advocacy, and it's how my small business - disXABILITY was founded. All of the obstacles, challenges, and adversity that I faced and fought led me to my purpose, and through community, I learned that I was not alone.
Today I tell my story to strangers around the world to let them know they are not alone. I struggled with the same emotions you may be processing and experiencing. This community understands and can relate to how you might feel because we all have so much more in common than we will ever know. Whether it's a physical disability, an invisible or mental disability, it doesn’t matter. Through com