A WATERFORD woman is using her experience as a means of alleviating the stresses caused by the current halt on day services for people with a disability. The Positive Ability Network launched its three-tiered online platform this week, with businesswoman, Cora Kearney at the helm.
“People who don’t have a disability have no clue how invisible you are. Nobody sees you as a person, only someone with a disability, as a problem to be managed,” said Cora, who is a finalist in this year’s Social Entrepreneurship Ideas Academy.
Disability services are due to begin resumption in August, but with no definite dates in sight, The Positive Ability Network was created as a means of creating a tight-knit community of disability service users, carers and parents. The platform will offer an online social community, a jobs platform for people with disabilities to work for a few hours during the week, and a career platform for those with professional skills looking for long-term career options.
Features will be kept as minimal as possible to enable those with a disability to use the service without a carer. Additionally, online workshops will be provided such as craft, cookery and life-skills.
Having been very sick in 2007 with an illness called Benign Intracranial Hypertension, Cora suffered from fluid on the brain. This resulted in stroke-like symptoms, affecting her left side, speech and other motor functions. 95% of Cora’s motor functions returned, leaving her with sensory sensitivity and short term memory problems.
In the unique position of having lived disability free, and with a disability, Cora aims to diversify the workplace, to create a positive podium where, as says, “people with a disability can see others like them, who can be the hero in their story. For every one thing a disability stops you from doing, there are ten things a disability allows you to do.”
The pandemic was, and continues to be, a worrying time, particularly for those with a disability whose services have been halted. Service users may not have contact with others in the service, and they may be anxious about the safety of those they were used to seeing. Loneliness is a challenging obstacle for those who have had routine interrupted, and for carer’s who are feeling isolated. The Positive Ability Network is working to address this anxiety, resume online workshops for life skills, and offer a goal and a purpose for career and work.