This is my third post about my interview with This Able Team. The transcript follows and you can read it on their Instagram, too. Just click here. Be sure to read their other posts, too, especially with Dr. Sean P. Dineen.
The photo is of me giving the keynote presentation at a People First convention. As always, I emphasized the positive.
I was discriminated against by California State Rehab, and they labeled me mentally retarded on three separate occasions, because I did not do well on tasks. This actually started when I was 18 years old. I took my test and went in originally to ask for help to get me a job, because I knew I needed help. Instead, they gave me a battery of tests and conveniently labeled me mentally retarded and put me into a nearby workshop, like GoodWill Industries. It was devastating. I turned every situation into a healthy atmosphere. I smiled and went to work in this workshop with a smile on my face, doing whatever they told me to do, and I wore bandaids on every single one of the fingers on my right hand because I was doing it all with my right hand. And I stuck it out. And I made it. And then I got a full time job on my own, and I worked as a salesgirl and it was fine for a while. But then, I was criticized and bullied, because I could do the job with one hand better than other people could with two hands. It was hard, but I took the challenge on and I was not going to give up. I did not give up on hope inside of my mind. I just walked on and walked on. And then, when I was 25 years old, I had a one-time opportunity to work in the field of dance. It turned my life around. I was an Assistant Recreation Director and then became a Director. I did all the care plans, and I taught dance. I used my talents from what I learned as a little girl and turned it into a healing process for other people. And I just followed my heart. I didn’t do things fast to compete with other people, but I did it at my pace when it felt comfortable. I did so many things for myself. I won the first civil rights case because of the discrimination and I opened the doors for all people to have education. I was on the board of Disability Rights California. I just follow my heart. I wouldn’t let anybody do that to me. It took three years to find out that I won my civil rights case. In the interim, I worked and taught people, I did whatever I could.
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