Your self-directed employment assistant
Thabiso Rowan identifies as a free spirited, out-of-the-box thinker. After enduring a spinal cord injury in June 2011, he received an Associate Degree of Human Services. His current occupation is Options Counselor at Disability Hub MN, where he assists people with disabilities -- and their caregivers and family members -- in finding resources from housing to healthcare. Thabiso allowed me to ask him a few questions on his life and career!
As someone who has experienced life with disability later in life, how was that shaped your perspective within your career? Have there been advantages or disadvantages?
Living with a disability has been an integral part in shaping my current career. Because of the intricacies of living with a disability, including health care, accessibility barriers, medical issues etc. I became intrigued with the many support systems and wanted to become more adverse and get in depth knowledge about the different support systems, so I opted for a Degree of Human Services and Disability Studies. One disadvantage of being involved and employed by disability support systems is that I see many of the issues. One advantage is that I know about many resources and have extra experience in navigating the different support systems, benefits, and services.
What has been one of the most rewarding aspects of your current job?
There are many rewarding pieces involved in working in the disability community. One of my favorite parts is learning all the differences of benefits and services available, and seeing how much we can provide for ourselves. I also enjoy working closely with other people with disabilities. As a person with a disability I feel like I have a connection with the disability community, and it is comforting to know that there are others who can relate to my experience. I really enjoy learning about new health, technological, and also societal advances and breakthroughs that are happening everyday in the disability community.
What types of challenges or hardships have you experienced, if any?
There are many challenges working in the disability community. I often see a lack of resources for people with disabilities and their families. I would love to see more accessibility for people with physical and cognitive disabilities. Society is set up for able bodied people and people who can navigate the different social aspects involved in a society. It is not always an equal playing field for persons with disabilities. I hope that we can incorporate more of a Universal Design as we progress and evolve.
Where do you hope to see yourself in 5 years?
I hope to be successful in whatever I discover and explore. I appreciate alternative ways of thinking and hope that I can participate in expanding resources and new breakthroughs that support people with disabilities. I practice yoga, healthy nutrition, different schools of medicine, sound healing, alternative ways of using the body and mind, and spirituality. These are all integral parts of my life, and that will most likely be a big part of how I engage myself in my upcoming endeavors. On the other hand I enjoy policy practice, advocacy, and engaging in my community. I’ll just have to see where my heart feels most productive.
Do you have any advice or wisdom that you’d like to impart on our site users?
I like to think that people know themselves the best and should always advocate for their wants and needs. I try to keep an open mind about the good, and not so good experiences that I come across. My motto is “positive attitude, positive outcome”.
Thanks again to Thabiso for his time and words!