Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Kerry's Causes, Memoir Monday, Special Occasions

National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Last week I spoke on a strictly medical point-of-view with

Diagnosis and Treatment.

For this week’s post I thought I would highlight the need for integration and awareness, for a cause so important to me: October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month in Canada.

Q: Do you think that its more important to emphasize medical treatment, life skills, community integration, or a combination of these things?


A: I am a big fan of not choosing one thing. In this case, just one won’t cut it.

Of course physical health is important. Any medical treatment that is required should not be ignored, whether through denial or fear.

In my case, eye doctors were vital when my remaining vision was in question and in danger.

Yet, there is so much more to the picture than eye health. Life skills and community integration are things that can not be ignored, or suffering and isolation follow.

I can’t express enough how vital my parents were in these elements. Once the medical condition of blindness was established it was time to get on with the business of living.

I do for myself as much as I can and those skills were taught to me as a child, as they were for any other.

Community integration brings me back to the start of this post.

Of course nothing is yet easy and simple. It is important to feel like you are a part of something bigger, community is that something. I know a lot of the work of integrating people with disabilities is still needed.

Nowhere is this as clear as in employment. We are not yet at a place where the numbers of people with disabilities, especially visual impairment, are high, integrated into the community and working alongside.

Integration can be a big and daunting word, for everyone. Both sides need to be able to communicate and play their part, if there is to be any real success. There needs to be an effort put forth by all involved.

My blindness doesn’t have to impede everything. There are certain jobs I could perform very well, if given the chance. This is really only possible because I was once taught many life skills others take for granted and don’t really think about.

The integration is then required to complete the process.

Medical treatment, life skills, and community integration are accomplished, for people with disabilities, in steps, one building on the other until the person is as well-off and well-adjusted as possible.


For more information on National Disability Employment Awareness Month, go


And next week on the

Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge,

What are some significant moments/events in your life that connect to disability?

I am betting I will have a lot to say for that one.


Memoir and Reflections, Writing


have you recently been kicked in the chest? Have you ever been slugged in the gut?

I only ask because I have become accustomed to these figurative injuries to my spirit lately. I can’t describe it any other way.

People have been writing about the universal topic of love and rejection for thousands of years. Writers know what it is to write about the tough side of love: rejection. Why do we love and why do we write? Both are pretty much guaranteed to result in that “being kicked squarely in the chest or the gut” feeling I have been feeling a lot over the past few months.

I don’t know why I delayed these experiences as long as I did? I can’t help but wonder how much farther along I would be in all this right now. Yes, I do know. Fear.

A bad first experience with a high school relationship with a boy soured me to putting myself out there in search of romance and love and it took me nearly ten years to open myself up again.

I am now in the midst of a grand burst of creative inspiration and ideas for things to write about. It must have built up in me until I had to take the leap. I waited so long and now I am in the midst of getting kicked in my torso somewhere by rejection after rejection.

It’s a strange minefield I am navigating now. The feelings of being rejected in love and through submitting my many pieces of writing are eerily identical.

Every single time a memory of my recent broken relationship pops into my head I feel the familiar kick in the gut. Yes, depending on the moment and the day: sometimes it’s the chest (right where my heart is. This, explaining why that broken heart thing has stuck all these years) and the next time it might have moved down only a small bit.

If I write something I love enough to show to others, strangers who have all the power and might or might not approve and share with others, I love it as if it were the object of my affections, feeling as if we (through revealing myself) have just embarked on a mad affair. So you might ask then: why do writers like myself put ourselves through the torture of submission after submission? The answer is obvious I suppose.

Why do we continue to pursue romance and love, even after being burned, most times more than once? Why do we once more put our hearts on the line and risk rejection that may or may not befall our hearts and our guts? It seems counter-intuitive when you look at it logically, but hope shines a light of future success: in love and in writing.

I put off all this way too long and now I am immersing my heart in rejection from all sides. It seems foolish and yet, I do it anyway. Maybe I am simply a glutton for punishment. Maybe I can’t take the hint. Who can say. I feel hurt and alone after love and I feel hurt and alone after every rejection I receive with my writing, but I keep on writing and I keep my heart wide open to the possibility of love once again.

I know I am not alone and I know I will reach the light of brighter days. I take what constructive criticism from those who didn’t want my writing and the lessons I’ve learned from past broken relationships and look toward any future rejection as moving me one step closer to the right guy I will open my heart to and the perfect home for the writing I long to reveal to the world.