My disability is my strength and superpower!
Being born with a progressive, incurable, invisible, muscle-wasting and neurological disability called Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease 4C has had its fair amount of challenges, but it has shaped and made me the person I am today. And I wouldn’t change that for anything; I feel very lucky and consider myself born to be different.
Throughout my life, I have never let my disability stop me from living and enjoying the life I want to lead and being independent. From a very young age I have always enjoyed helping people and comforting them through challenging times whether that is a friend, family member or someone that I do not know through my years of voluntary work with different charities. People ask me what do I for a living and I have the privilege of saying making a difference to people lives through positive mindset, education, teaching, coaching and mentoring to be the best version of themselves for their teams and customers – I am an Agile Coach and a Lead for the UK Confident Disability Network (DCN) at my place of work!
I thoroughly enjoy my job and work in an organisation and team that welcomes me to truly bring my whole self to work! But this hasn’t always been the case throughout my career as I have not always been accepted for the way I have looked through my exterior appearance. Although my disability is invisible, there are times that I have had to make the invisible visible through wearing ankle splints, trainers that have room for my orthopaedic insoles and my back brace. At work I use a footrest, ergonomic chair with a lower lumbar support, and most recently a voice amplifier when delivering coaching session due to my voice fatigue.
This is where I use my superpower to help educate and drive change in the workplace and my voluntary role as the Lead for the UK DCN gives me the chance to help drive change in the workplace that I would like to see. The network is a community with the mission to create an environment to encourage people to feel comfortable to talk about their disabilities or health conditions. It is a network that helps to be the voice of others that have not yet discovered their inner strength and power to speak up, and a strong focus to help educate and raise awareness of people with different abilities in life through their personal stories.
Our focus should be on an individual’s ability and intelligence, not on their disability, or the way they look or sound. Disability or not, we all have the progression to grow within and make the difference we want to see around us! There is a superhero inside all of us, waiting to be discovered!
Written by Priyaneet Kainth, a Computing for Business graduate (2014)