Even though they’ve never met, they’re different ages, different genders and different races, Brenda Mosby and Tucker Smith have a lot in common. Both of them know what it’s like to be underestimated as a person with a disability.
“It’s a challenge in your everyday life,” said the little boy, who was born with cerebral palsy.
Brenda Mosby faces her own set of challenges. She lost her eyesight 23 years ago and knows how difficult it is for people with disabilities to find jobs.
“There is a workforce out there that’s not being tapped into,” Mosby said. “People (who are) highly educated, and they’re enthusiastic and they’re eager. And they want to work. But if employers do not understand the benefit to that, then that’s not going to be an area they’re searching out job-seekers.”
Mosby has since founded Mosby Employment Services, an organization that helps people with disabilities find jobs. She has also authored a book, “You are Capable,” aiming to inspire job-seekers with disabilities.
Both Mosby and Smith’s stories are reflected in the 9NEWS Special “Courageous Conversations: Living with a Disability in Colorado.” The Courageous Conversations series focuses on profiling the lives of different people in order to create understanding.
Employment, health care, funding and advocacy are all topics discussed in a panel that includes people with both physical and intellectual/developmental disabilities.
The program shows the challenges and triumphs of living with disabilities. One of those examples comes from the National Sports Center for the Disabled (NSCD). The non-profit helps people with disabilities live active lives with both instruction and competition in a number of sports.
“I have a number of clients, our athletes, who really don’t think they can do it,” said NSCD Program Director Josh Thurmond. “And there’s a lot of tears a lot of hard work.”
Courageous Conversations also shines a light on life with autism, as told in the words of Alissa Varela, a woman who was diagnosed with autism as a child and has managed to carve out some form of independence in her life, working through The Arc of Aurora.
One part of disabilities that may often be misunderstood is the use of a service dog. A 9NEWS viewer shares her story, in hopes that it will help educate others.
These stories make up only part of the half-hour special devoted to sharing the experiences of people living with both physical and intellectual/developmental disabilities.