Don't "Dis" My Ability by Michelle McClure and Krystian Shaw

    Krystian Shaw is one of those hidden gems in the world of disability and advocacy, that once discovered and given a chance to show his true ability, becomes an incredible role model and mentor for others. From his time as a teen member of our online community, he has grown and now in his 20’s is truly shining! Krystian’s determination and passion for making a difference has led him to develop his self-advocacy newsletter. And while the focus for his newsletter is on Kamloops BC, he reaches all the way across the country via our online network, sharing his tips for mental well-being, advocating for rights and stamping out the stigma and discrimination that often impacts people with intellectual, emotional or physical disabilities.

    As a professional who has worked in the disability field for almost 30 years, it has been most rewarding to watch Krystian develop the skills and the confidence to not only take on any challenge that comes his way, but he continues to reach beyond that to celebrate diversity, encourage his peers, and to remind us all that differing abilities does not mean a lack of ability.

    Shine On Krystian!


    Hi My name Krystian Shaw,

    I live in Kamloops BC Canada and I am a 27 years old male. I was born with intellectual and developmental disabilities as well as an anxiety disorder. My mom was uncertain about my future since the doctors told her I would never be able to read or write, but I proved them wrong. My mom worked with me at home and sent me to Sylvan for 4 months since the teachers at school wouldn't teach me to read. They felt I couldn't retain what they taught me. I would keep forgetting but as I got older, I started to remember.

    I also taught myself a lot on the computer because I had a dream of doing something big that I felt Canada could offer me. There are so many programs for people like me, such as Insight support services for when I was younger, and Community Living BC. Inclusion Kamloops provides adult services to make possible to reach whatever goals you have with some support in place. As a result, I know how to read and write, I am a good speller and now I own a successful newsletter that is free to the public that focuses on reducing stigma and discrimination around all disabilities such as developmental disabilities, mental health issues, and physical disabilities by reporting on positive success stories around all diverse abilities.

    I have a vision to celebrate people's abilities rather than their disabilities this 2017 for Canada's 150th year. Another accomplishment Canada can be proud of is a safe social network at Ability Online that is for people with diverse abilities who are kids, teens, young adults/alumni and professionals and parents. It has plenty safe guards from predators and bullying. They also invite guest speakers from time to time to a chat room on the site. This is where I practiced my reading and writing skills before starting my own business. I am a member and its a free membership. Ability Online is also a small Canadian charity.

    It was because of my challenges that I was born with that gave me the desire to give back to others who have challenges too. One challenge I had was not being capable of getting a degree, so I needed to figure out how I could work in the disability field that didn't require a degree. That's when I decided to start my own newsletter business in September 2013. I have advertisers who give me ads to put in the newsletter for a small fee. That makes it possible to give my newsletter to agencies, coffee shops and even doctor's offices for free as well as getting a profit for myself. I also e-mail my newsletter to anyone who wants one all over the world.

    Don't "Dis" My Ability!

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