Don’t “Dis” My Ability™

Speaking honestly, openly, and candidly about the struggles of dealing with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) was the topic of Shawn Smith’s public lecture, “Nobody Ever Said Being Awesome Would Be Easy,” which was hosted by UM-NSU CARD as part of its Autism Lecture Series.

“We spend so much time trying to make people fit into our world that we rarely take time to think how we can fit into theirs,” said Smith, the CEO and founder of Don’t dis-my-ability™ Consultation Services Inc., an entrepreneurial company based in Canada that invests in the field of neurodiversity. “I believe that I add value to whatever it is that I do, and if I’m not, then I’m going to switch gears and find out how I can.”

During the lecture, Smith talked about the way people with learning disabilities, or what he considers “extraordinary” abilities, respond to various stimuli around them. Individuals with ADHD, for example, have to create the environments that work for them or always suffer navigating a maze of expectations and strategies that are counterproductive to the way they process information.

Smith also addressed the challenges of common misconceptions about people, like him, who are considered neurodiverse. Although there are many people whose cognitive disabilities are misdiagnosed or go undiagnosed all together, Smith believes that the field of neurodiversity is moving in a positive direction. He explained that various communities (family life, school life, and the workplace) cane sometimes fail to recognize when individuals face these struggles; neither do they provide the type of environments that tap into the unique, and often creative, abilities of people like him. 

“It’s not always seeing things from the perspective of what is wrong, but sometimes you have to consider what is right about it,” said Smith.  

 

October 12, 2018