Co-workers can start to become a bit like family. As we become familiar with them it is their personality, humor, kindness and daily contributions to the business that stand out to us… that we count on. The big things that make them unique to the world can fade into the background. It’s not that we forget about those bigger things, but more that those things quiet for us in favor of the daily traits of that individual. More plainly stated: we get to know them.
Then, every once in a while, they do something that reminds us of how they’re unique to the world, something that brings back the feeling of inspiration that we had when we first met them. At Interactive Accessibility one of our employees, Rosemary Musachio, is known for her humor in meetings, her wit on instant messenger and her job skill. She is one of the best among us at letting her co-workers know how much she appreciates them. The team at Interactive Accessibility is so used to interacting with Rose that we no longer focus on the fact that she navigates the world in a wheelchair, uses a head wand to interact with her computer and cannot speak.
To us Rose is another valued member of the team and not a woman living with the challenges of cerebral palsy. It is easy to forget that strangers often see someone in a wheelchair that can’t use their hands well and only grunts. Even easier to forget when you know Rose well are the assumptions those strangers can make and the challenges that Rose faces as she navigates a normal day. Let’s be clear, Rose’s “normal days” are anything but normal. Rose is a skilled accessibility specialist for a major accessibility consulting firm, is a graduate of CSU, travels worldwide…, oh, and hang glides and horseback rides in her spare time.
As for the challenges Rose faces, I’m not qualified to discuss them. However, thanks to a technology called Maestro Dynovox, not only is Rose qualified to discuss those challenges she is able to. She did so, quite eloquently, as the Keynote speaker at the National Student Speech Hearing Language Association Conference at Cleveland State University this past October. We at Interactive Accessibility, as her friends and co-workers, are proud to present the transcript from that speech. We hope it is as inspiring to you as it is to us.