Hey there, Amy here! If you don't already know me, I am a small business owner, active advocate, and ally for the disabled community, former early childhood special educator, and family services case coordinator. My business, disABILITY, is a disability awareness and advocacy brand dedicated to empowering individuals in the disabled community, and challenging the limiting beliefs society has placed on the term disability.
Q: What inspired you to start disXABILITY? This community is close to my heart because I grew up with multiple learning disabilities myself. 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 and battled with emotions of failure, frustration, guilt, shame, and defeat. BUT through every challenge and obstacle, I was blessed to have a support team that I knew I could count on. Throughout my years in school, I had a team of teachers, assistants, tutors, and my parents that showed me love, support, and patience. I had a team that didn’t give up on me, advocating for me, pushing me, affirming me, and rooting for me, even when I didn’t feel like rooting for myself. Q: Who is someone that inspires you through their work? I would not be where I am today without these influential educators that taught me the value of perseverance, advocacy, confidence, and strength. I think that's why I am so passionate about disability acceptance, and self-advocacy, and it's how my small business - disXABILITY was founded. I started disXABILITY to give back and to support others, the same way my team supported me because I understand the value of support and community. If I had to choose one influential and inspirational person that has affected my life it would be my tutor, Monica Gicking. She tutored me in math from elementary school through college. She is special to me because she didn't give up on me. She was so patient and understood how my brain worked. She was quick to adapt and try new approaches or strategies to help me understand and never got frustrated, showing me empathy and compassion. Q: How do you hope your company makes changes in the disability space?
It is my mission to empower individuals in the disabled community and challenge the limiting beliefs society has placed on the term disability. Through disX I teach the same tools and resources that helped me become the strong and confident self-advocate that I am today. I founded disXABILITY with a goal to show individuals in this community that a disability does not define you and it does not have to limit you. Whether it be that you have a disability yourself, or you're raising a child with a disability, everyone was born with a purpose and we all have strengths and skills that are unique and of value to this world. I teach this daily to my community, with the hope that they can apply it to their own lives and live a fulfilled and successful life. Q: What's next for you? Another large pillar of my business is disability awareness apparel and it is what funds the ability for me to continue my mission and work full time for the disX community. Disability awareness apparel is an essential part of my brand because it takes what I teach daily and puts it into action. What better way is there to advocate for people with disabilities than through something we wear every day; a t-shirt? T-shirts are great conversation starters and are an incredible way to show that you're a friend and ally to someone with a disability and to someone who may be ignorant or not understand what the disabled community is all about. Moving forward, I have a goal to design and make more disability awareness t-shirts available to the community, so we can continue the conversation around disability awareness and acceptance. I also have a goal to speak at more events and organizations, sharing my story and teaching others how they can be advocates for change. This past year I had the opportunity to teach a webinar for 300+ psychology college students, professors, and deans from 3 universities in INDIA. This was the most powerful experience because the value and knowledge that I shared in my webinar to a country that still has so many limiting beliefs around people with disabilities were heard, accepted, and is being applied today. Never doubt the impact that you can have when you choose to speak up and speak out. TOGETHER we can change the way the world talks about and views disabilities.
You can learn more about Amy and her work on Instagram @disxability