Frequently Asked Questions
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What is Pathways to Professionalism?
Pathways to Professionalism is an event dedicated to promoting increased expectations and higher levels of achievement for young adults with disabilities. Pathways to Professionalism is an engaging event with both presentation and workshop components. After attending the event, participants will have had the opportunity to:
- Identify with a professional who has a disability that resonates with them and their experience.
- Learn about and examine some of the key assumptions and perspectives that surround disabilities.
- Understand what professionalism is and why it is important.
- Define their core values and develop a personal mission statement.
- Begin establishing a professional network while developing and practicing important communication skills.
Why do we need Pathways to Professionalism?
Pathways to Professionalism and similar events are needed because they seek to combat disability shame and increase quality of life outcomes for young adults with disabilities by:
- Normalizing disability.
- Demonstrating the value that people with disabilities bring to the table.
- Emphasizing the importance of increased ownership, accountability, and expectations for young adults with disabilities.
- Providing valuable professional development opportunities to young adults with disabilities.
How did Pathways to Professionalism begin?
Members of the professionals’ group, ProfessionA11y, were asked about the most significant barriers to their success. To their surprise, they all responded similarly that they felt alone and unsupported on their journeys. They had been sure that their disabilities meant they would be unable to live successful, productive lives.
“I never saw people with disabilities living normal lives, so I figured it just didn’t exist, except for like Stephen Hawking, I guess… you know?” one of them said. Starting then, they began planning to help make sure that as many young adults with disabilities as possible get the message that, contrary to what they might think, there are people like them who live normal, happy, productive lives, and that they don’t have to be the exception. These professionals have learned to capitalize on their abilities, and not to be defined by them. They show up fully at work and in their communities, where they make valuable contributions. In short, they’re not even close to living in their folks’ basements! (Although they do think free food at Sunday night dinner is nice.)
Who should participate in Pathways to Professionalism?
Pathways to Professionalism is a professional development opportunity specifically designed for young adults with disabilities who aspire to live a whole-hearted and productive life. To that end, young adults with disabilities and those who directly support them are invited.
How much does it cost?
There is absolutely no charge to host or attend a Pathways to Professionalism event. Financial contributions are entirely discretionary and much appreciated. They help us continue offering Pathways to Professionalism events.