Is success all about getting employment, everything boils down to a 9-5 job? People with special needs or neurotypical can achieve way more with persistence and consistency. We all know about famous success story of people with special needs like Richard Branson and how he overcame dyslexia to reach a net worth of 5.1 billion USD (as on 2017) or Micheal Phelps who overcame ADHD and went on to become one of the most decorated Olympian of all time, with a total of 28 medals. We would like to cover some lesser known success stories of people with special needs. Of course, this is not an exhaustive list since there are many such stories some known and some lesser known.
Collette Divitto, Entrepreneur
Down Syndrome may have prevented Collette Divitto from getting a job, but it didn’t stop her from starting her own company. Her mission now is to grow Collettey’s Cookies so that she can hire other capable people with disabilities. Collette had been creating her own cookies for fun! She faced rejections but was determined to not give up, She started her entrepreneur journey in 2015. Divitto currently has about 20 staff and plans to expand staffing, equipment, and marketing. Her mission is to open production facilities across the country and employ thousands of differently abled people!
Pema Tshering, Bhutan’s cerebral palsy ‘foot’ artist, Entrepreneur
“He earns his own livelihood and takes care of his old parents who once abandoned him because of his physical limitations!”
With severe physical limitations, Pema used his ‘partial limbs’ and his ‘mental strength’ to not only make a living for himself but also made sure that he takes care of his parents in their old age.
A brilliant package of perseverance, hard work and “kindness” all put together. The story of Bhutan is an inspiration for everyone and has yet again proved “Anything is possible”
Daniel Holt, lawyer
Cerebral Palsy could not stop Daniel from becoming a barrister.
Daniel says his speech impediment has been seen by some in the UK as an issue because the argument was that clients would be at a disadvantage because judges and jurors wouldn’t be able to understand him. He has been passed over by some employers because of those concerns but he fought to work in the only career that has ever interested him.
Megan Reeve, Miss Rugby
Megan Reeve, a teenage student with cerebral palsy is in the running to be become the first ever differently abled winner of Miss England. She was tormented by school bullies who had branded her a “penguin” and “dinosaur” but has now had the last laugh after being crowned Miss Rugby.
Megan never allowed anything in her way to achieving her dream of becoming a beauty queen.
And last weekend Megan was crowned Miss Rugby in Bedworth – qualifying for the semi-finals of Miss England, which will be held in July.
Jason McElwain, Coach
Coach let Jason McElwain play in the last regular season game of his senior year in 2006
“I just caught fire. I was hot as a pistol,” he said. McElwain ended up shooting six 3-pointers — one right after the other. He had 20 points total. And each time a shot went in his teammates and the crowd went a little crazier. His last basket, right at the buzzer, created total mayhem.
This gave him the confidence that he can do anything, he went on to co author a book on himself and after graduation, became the assistant coach at his old high school
Kerry Magro, Author, Motivational Speaker
Kerry Magro, 28, is an award-winning disability advocate, best-selling author, movie consultant, non-profit founder and full-time employee at Autism Speaks. Magro was completely non-verbal until the age of two and a half and was diagnosed with autism at 4 years old.
Magro now travels around the country as a motivational speaker. His speeches have included two TEDx Talks. In 2014, he received accreditation from the National Speakers Association as one of the only professionally certified speakers with autism in the country. Those speaking engagements led to a stint in TV hosting his own local cable show called the “Different is Beautiful Show,” which focuses on people who overcome adversity.
Austin, Micra Cup racer
Austin has attention to details of his surroundings. He added another feather to his cap by becoming the only driver to finish last season without a crash, or apparently even a scratch on his beloved race car.
Ranveer Singh Saini, Golfer
Ranveer Singh Saini created history by becoming the first Indian golfer to win a gold medal at the Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles. The 14-year-old autistic golfer achieved the feat in GF Golf-Level 2 Alternate Shot Team Play event.
Jake Barnett, Published physicist
At age two, Jake Barnett was diagnosed with autism and his future was unclear. Now at age 13, Jake is a college sophomore and a math and science prodigy. Jake says his autism is key to his success. At home, his parents couldn’t stock paper fast enough to keep up with how fast he was writing equations. So he’d move on to whiteboards, then to windows.
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