Looking at Abilities- What’s Yours?

In a world that seems to be focusing more and more on the negative things in life, I thought today we would look at Abilities instead.


1. The power or capacity to do or act physically, mentally, legally, morally, financially etc.
2. competence in an activity, or occupation because of one’s skill, training or other qualification
3. abilities, talents, special skills or aptitude

Like many people throughout Australia we are preparing for the NDIS conversation, to maintain what we already get and, or get assistance for the first time (i.e. not paid by Mum and Dad). As you can imagine this has led to lots of interesting conversations about abilities and “dis” abilities.

‘Dis’ Ability and ‘Dis’ Service

As usual it got me to thinking about the “dis” service we are doing one another by thinking this way. I just bet none of you write your resumes stating only your “disabilities” or things you cannot do. NO, in a resume we always want our prospective employer to see us in a good, no great light. So, we send through a resume listing all our achievements and why we would be an awesome asset to the company. Can you imagine how depressing it would be for most “normal” or “neurotypical” people if we were to only list what we couldn’t do, or didn’t do well? It’s almost comical, right? So, why is this done when it comes to getting funds for equipment and general living expenses (on top of the average person’s)?

I know that any of you who were born with your disability will have experienced that moment when you get that letter form Centrelink stating you need to prove your disabled again! “Well der! I’ve had it all my life, if anything it’s going to get worse.” Now, I understand that the 2 yearly checks are to discourage those who receive a temporary disability pension from wroughting the system. But really! It is very depressing as a mother and carer, let alone the person who needs to reapply to be continuously reminded at what they can and cannot do and how they compare to others.

Talent is Talent

We all have different things we can and cannot do.

I do think it is great that under the NDIS, service and product providers are actually required to look at what each client is good at and why their services and products will improve the client’s life. An example that springs to mind is for a friend who has a non-verbal daughter. The daughter communicates in many different ways including using a talking board and completing art and craft workshops on a weekly basis. At these workshops she has been able to express the way she sees the world, and it is amazing! Anyone who is privileged enough to view her work is astounded. Funny thing is most people who do get to view her art have no idea she is classed as severely disabled. Yet, if her profile was submitted to gain a job, many people would not be able to look past her disability, almost dismissing her abilities before even seeing them.

Everyone is Different

Friends comes in all shapes, sizes and abilities.

My #2 Son looks at things in a slightly different way as he has high functioning autism. At first many people will not realise this as he can be extremely quirky, or sometimes just plain weird. In his words “I’m very open about my “dis” ability because, the average Joe doesn’t really see that I have a disability. (Being high functioning can be really awkward sometimes). So, I let people know. Then if I’m doing something or saying anything weird they can say “Hey #2 Son that’s a bit weird” or, pull me up for an action or response that isn’t within the realms of normal. I think this is a service to me. My friends know that if I do/say something more than a bit different, they can say “Hey man pull you’re head in.” Or, “How about we try that again like this?” Many of my true friends actually like my quirks and weird ways saying they miss me when we haven’t caught up for a while, as they like the variety I bring into their lives.

I am fortunate as all of my family are among the growing number of people in society who don’t judge each other on what they first see. Due to the many differences of ability in our family we tend to see people for their positive and unique characteristics and bodies. Are you and your business looking for the positive abilities in everyone? Or, are you among those who only see the “disabilities” in the people around you?

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