Disability is Diversity

Diversability is an award-winning movement to rebrand disability through the power of community.

Guest Post: Ability From Disabilities

We are excited to share this guest post from one of our social media supporters, Alyssa M. Theis-Covic (or @mrsmetal1989 on Instagram) on her experience with Tom Rath's StrengthsFinder 2.0

For the entirety of my existence I have been informed repetitively of my disabilities and how they would limit all aspects of my life; however, in a twist of fate it appears that my disabilities have become my abilities.  

During my graduate studies at Lewis University I enrolled in a Psychology of Motivation course where one of my required textbooks was StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath.  The book also came with an access code to be used on the website that would allow me to take the StrengthsFinder 2.0 survey.  After reading the book in two days time, I wasted no time to take the StrengthsFinder 2.0 survey.  Using the access code that came with the book, I created a log-in account and took/completed the StrengthsFinder 2.0 survey in roughly about fifteen to twenty minutes time.  The Gallup StrengthsFinder 2.0 results listed my top five themes as Learner, Arranger, Connectedness, Strategic, and Command.  My results shocked me to say the very least and felt my disabilities made it impossible for those themes to be my top five strengths.  I have a cognitive disability, ADHD, learning disability, mathematics disorder, strained reasoning when attempting to understand/interpret social interactions, disorder of written expression, and a slew of other diagnoses that I felt made it impossible for my StrengthsFinder 2.0 results to be right/accurate.  But, then I began to read my Strengths Insight and Action-Planning Guide where it became clear to me that my results were no mistake; in fact, my top five themes were almost entirely formed by my disabilities.  

I am a Learner. I “have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve.” Call me a geek/nerd but learning new things excites me.  I am committed to acquiring/obtaining new knowledge, skills, and the highest level of education possible for myself.  

I have had to learn how to be an Arranger to compensate for my disability.  As a Arranger I have learned how to organize, identify and implement resources/adaptations to maximize my productivity, and I do strive to measure up to or exceed the highest standards people set for me as I find it very fulfilling.  

I feel Connectedness is a top theme of mine because I don't believe in coincidences, I don't believe my destiny is a matter of chance; instead, I feel my destiny is a matter of conscious choice, focus, hard work, patience, persistence, ability to preserver,and dedication.  I relate my theme of Connectedness to Newtons Third Law “for every action there is a equal and opposite reaction.”  Connectedness is a top theme of mine because I am optimistic about the future for people with disabilities and am actively trying to improve the quality of life for individuals with disabilities through my advocacy about the need for postsecondary education.  

I believe that my Connectedness theme is in part the causation for my Strategic theme; in fact, I personally feel as a person with a disability, it is my moral/ethical obligation/duty to be a voice for those who have none or are to ashamed/afraid to speak up. I know that my advocacy efforts are appreciated and am motivated by the kind words of people who have written thank you cards, sent me emails detailing how I helped them, or telling me how I inspired them.  The theme of Strategic I feel also was identified as a top theme because of my disability as it has forced me to “create alternative ways to proceed,” “quickly spot the relevant patterns and issues,” generate multiple solutions/adaptations, develop a detailed plan to obtain goals, identify ways to increase productivity, and self-advocacy has made me more adept with language.  

Lastly, I am the theme of Command, I have the “desire to capture topmost honors and first place titles,” I regularly “tackle assignments with great enthusiasm and speed,” and I am “intent on bering victorious.”

Taking the StrengthsFinder 2.0 made me realize my disabilities didn't put the odds against me; instead, my disabilities are my strengths and I now know how to use them as strengths to aid my future career success.