I believe in the power of living with a disability and using it as a launching pad for transforming one’s life. When a person embraces her disability, both the challenges and the triumphs, as an integral part of who she is, life takes on new meaning. One becomes empowered to make choices, pursue dreams, radiate abilities, and live fully.
-Kathy O’Connell, MS, CRC, LMHC
Kathy O’Connell is a writer and Director of Radiant Abilities, LLC in Syracuse, NY. Kathy is author of the forthcoming self-help book, Firewalk: Embracing Different Abilities. She was motivated to begin providing counseling services because of the gap she observed in opportunities for personal growth and transformation to people with disabilities. Kathy believes that within each of us is the full potential to lead the lives we dream of; ones full happiness, love, health, and peace. Kathy teaches the concept of “different abilities” meaning that each of us has our own unique strengths and gifts to share with the world, regardless of ability level. Kathy’s commitment is to assist people with different abilities and their family members in living full lives through promoting growth, enhancing self-worth and personal empowerment.
Personal Life Experience
Kathy’s work is intertwined with her personal life as someone who lives with a different ability. Born with cerebral palsy, Kathy has her own history of struggles and triumphs related to living with a difference. Cerebral palsy affects Kathy’s speech, balance, and motor coordination. She views her condition as a natural part of who she is. The youngest of four children, Kathy was incredibly loved and valued for her unique characteristics and personality. She brings this understanding of the importance of value and self-love to the people she works with.
While her family taught her to consider her needs and how to compensate for them, Kathy was always lovingly encouraged to follow the similar educational, social, and career goals of her siblings. At the age of seven, she fought to be removed from a “special” school to be educated alongside her peers without disabilities. This was a significant indicator of how self-directed Kathy’s life would become.
Kathy’s commitment is to help others with disabilities believe in themselves, foster their abilities, and pursue a life of living their dreams.
No responses yet