Disability Day: because we are all different | NTT DATA

Mon, 03 December 2018

Disability Day: because we are all different

For those of you who don't know me, my name is María and I'm 26 years old. In my first years of life I was diagnosed with what society calls "intellectual disability". However, I (and fortunately many others like me) don’t view it as a disability and rather as possessing different abilities. Given that this subject is considered taboo for many individuals, in this post I want to bring your attention to the following points.

There are one billion individuals in the world who have different abilities including 3.84 million in Spain. I am from Barcelona, ​​and the latest data from the Department of Labor indicates that there are 529,104 individuals who possess different abilities in Catalonia of whom 301,600 are of working age and 101,980 of these individuals are currently employed.  I consider myself fortunate to belong to the last group.

 Different skills emphasize diversity in society. A different abled individual works differently from others, and thus requires adaptations and specific aids for somedaily tasks.

As a child, I faced considerable difficulties with respect to developing motor skills. I took a little longer to start walking than other children, and thus my parents took me to a doctor who detected a hypotonia and made me undergo psychomotricity sessions. I did not walk at two and a half years of age and there were no improvements in my development. Therefore, my parents consulted a recommended neurologist who performed an MRI and detected an anomaly in my brain mass, which was slightly disproportionate. My inability to walk was attributed to this anomaly as opposed to hypotonia. The neurologist told my parents that there was no drug or surgical remedy for the anomaly. Hence, I required significant assistance from specialists and my parents during my initial years. The doctor also mentioned that although I would face challenges, I could lead a relatively normal life with effort and dedication. It is also difficult for me to pronounce certain phonemes and to be clearly understood due to the aforementioned limitations.

My parents helped me the most, as well as the rest of my family who have always made me smile even when I've been discouraged. My life is full of visits to specialists including psychologists, speech therapists, physiotherapists specialized in psychomotricity, and social assistants, which has helped mehelped me in developing my abilities.

When I was a little girl I went to "Llar d'infants Saltiró" day care center. After that, I started kindergarten and studied primary school. I studied primary school in two centers, namely an ordinary center and a special education center. Thus, I managed to graduate and pursue my higher studies in administration and marketing. I succeeded in this new challenge by passing the CAS and graduating as an administrative management technician and as an advanced technician in sales and commercial space management.

I was bullied by my classmates and a few teachers were indifferent toward me throughout my education. Despite these difficulties (which affected me emotionally), I focused on my friends from "Luz de Gas" and "l'Ateneu Divers del Grup Caliu", and I found the strength to succeed in my endeavors.

I then went to the AURA Foundation, which helped me in integrating into the labor market. They found me a job at everis. I was an intern with my job coach for two months until they offered me an employment contract, and I then began to work independently without their help. 



I am currently working in Processes Support in the Recruiting area in ​​Barcelona. ​​I provide administrative support in the Human Resources department. Despite my work experience in other companies as an administrative assistant, the first months at everis were challenging for me given my previous experiences. My evolution since I joined the company as an intern has been very positive. Prior to starting the job, I was very embarrassed to talk to individuals, and I felt very insecure. I now talk to everyone, and I feel increasingly confident of myself. This was mainly possible due to my mentor at everis who helped me immensely and slowly persuaded me to talk to everyone. The truth is that I feel very happy and fortunate. Working in a friendly and welcoming environmentand doing something that I am passionate aboutd makes me feel calm and good about myself. I feel that they are one of the families I have chosen.

A classmate once told me: "When you're thinking about giving up, remember what you are fighting for. Every effort is rewarded and at the end of the road, when you reach the finish line, the views are wonderful regardless of how hard it was to climb the mountain." To anyone who may identify with this article, I want to send you a message: YOU CAN IF YOU WANT TO. YOU NEED TO TRY IT TO ACHIEVE IT.

The AURA Foundation is a non-profit organization whose mission involves improving the quality of life of individuals with intellectual disabilities through social inclusion. Specifically, AURA currently assists 246 individuals of different ages who participate in various programs. Job placement organizations, such as AURA, and companies like everis ensure that individuals like Maria can have a life projectand feel that they are a part of society. For further information, please visit www.aurafundacio.org

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