There are currently more than 61 million Americans older than 18 living with a disability. While some disabilities are of a physical nature, others impact the cognitive abilities of the individual.
Everyone living with a disability faces a unique set of challenges. Although these challenges can be both frustrating and disheartening, they don’t have to stand in between an aspiring entrepreneur and large-scale success. In fact, many world-renowned entrepreneurs overcame numerous obstacles and excelled in their respective fields.
Author and activist fights back against CP diagnosis
Canadian native Glenda Watson Hyatt was born with cerebral palsy (CP), which left her with severe speech and other physical impairments. Glenda started her school career in a small class that focused on learners with special needs. Refusing to be hindered by her disabilities, however, Glenda worked hard and graduated from high school as a student in a regular class. Today, Glenda is not only a college graduate, but also the author of a best-seller entitled, ‘I’ll Do It Myself’ which she typed using only her left thumb. Glenda is also the proud owner of a very successful online consultancy agency.
According to the Cerebral Palsy Family Network (https://cpfamilynetwork.org/) it is essential that financial, emotional and educational support is available to help individuals with CP live their best life. It is thanks to her never-say-die attitude and these invaluable resources that Glenda has a successful career and lives a happy, fulfilling life.
Dyslexia did not deter world-famous business magnate
It is hard to believe that the world-famous billionaire, author and philanthropist Richard Branson dropped out of school at the age of 16 after battling with dyslexia. Prior to his diagnosis, most of his teachers were of the opinion that he was either unintelligent or extremely lazy. His tumultuous academic career did not put a damper on his entrepreneurial dreams. In fact, he founded his business, a student-focused magazine and mail-order record company that would ultimately become Virgin Records, shortly after his exit from school.
Today his company, the Virgin Group, has more than 500 subsidiaries, and the boy with dyslexia is a man with a net worth of $3.9 billion.
Inventor with muscular dystrophy makes life easier for wheelchair users
It was a dark day for the Braun family back in 1947, when young Ralph was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy. His prognosis was grim, and doctors warned that he would never live an independent life. Although he lost his ability to walk a few years later, Ralph refused to spend his time confined to a wheelchair. Nineteen years after his diagnosis, in 1966, he went on to both design and produce the world’s first wheelchair-accessible van. By 1991, he was also credited with creating the first accessible minivan. Ralph dedicated his entire life to improving the quality of living for individuals with disabilities. Although he passed away in 2013 at the age of 72, Ralph Braun’s legacy continues to live on to this day.
Living with a disability can be taxing. Thankfully, a disability does not necessarily have to prevent a would-be entrepreneur from finding success.