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Empowering Ability Podcast

Kids & Family Podcasts

Empowering people with disabilities to live an incredible ordinary life.

Empowering people with disabilities to live an incredible ordinary life.




Empowering people with disabilities to live an incredible ordinary life.






#062: Joe Clayton's Story Institutionalization and Building His Life Afterward

I'm honored to bring you this conversation I recorded with Joe Clayton. Joe is a survivor of Rideau Regional Center; an institution closed in Smith Falls, Ontario. "We as the people, disabilities, we cry just like everybody else. We laugh like everybody else. We are human beings, just like everybody else. And like I said before, we just want the world to know we are not monsters who got out of institutions. We are human beings, and we need to be respected and to be loved. And we don't need...


#061: The Power Of Positive Vision, with Lorna Sullivan

Lorna Sullivan, a global disability leader who is making significant changes inside the New Zealand social system. Lorna is the founder of the International Initiative for Disability Leadership (IIDL) and Director of Mana Whaikaha. I had the pleasure of learning from Lorna when she was part of the faculty in Michael Kendrick's Optimal Individualized Service Design Course. In this podcast, we cover a wide range of topics, including: About Lorna Sullivan: Lorna became involved in...


Taking Charge of Life, with Libby Ellis

Separated from her brother at childhood, Libby shares her journey of supporting her brother to create a great life. Enjoy this conversation with Libby Ellis, sibling, and founder of In Charge, a consulting organization in western Australia that is assisting people with disabilities to be the authors and champions of their own lives. About Libby Ellis:Libby works for a vivid vision of inclusion. She has walked many steps with her brother, Matthew, and for 20 years she has assisted others...


Sexuality and Disability, with Dr. Margaret Newbury Jones

In this conversation with Dr. Margaret Newbury Jones, here out referred to as Margaret, of SHADE Consulting and Counselling we dive into the topic of sexuality and disability. We discuss what self-advocates, families, and supporters need to know about sexuality and Intellectual/developmental disability (IDD). She answers the questions; Why is knowing the language of our bodies so important? Where do I go to find a partner?, What is the role of a paid supporter, and Should we be allowed to...


#058: What I learned Moving Out of Mom and Dad’s

It has been a little over one year since my sister, Sarah has come onto the podcast – and a lot has changed for Sarah. The most significant change has been Sarah moving out of mom and dad’s and into a home of her own. This single decision to move out of mom and dad’s made 1000 decisions for Sarah and our family. This one decision for Sarah to have a home of her own has allowed her to grow into the capable young woman that she wants to be. Before the Move On the podcast, Sarah shares...


Bonus: If we aren't there for our loved one with a disability, who will be?

... If I am not there to care and look out for my son or daughter, then who will be? It is a big question, but it is also something we avoid talking about because we have to realize our own death. BUT, if we don't have these conversations - what are we leaving behind?! From the hundreds of families I have spoken with I've learned that it is a massive hole. If you are the go-to person for your loved one with a disability, and they are dependent on you and you aren't there for them anymore it...


Bonus: The two things successful families are doing

Over the past few years, I’ve been thinking deeply about how to best support families with a loved one with a disability to create a happy and full life for their loved one - and a good life that isn’t dependent on parents (forever)… I know this is possible because I have friends with disabilities who have created this life - my family is going through this transformation, and the families I work with are going through this transformation. In this video, I share one of their stories with...

Bonus: How to create and deepen relationships

As families, we have the question of who will care for our loved one with a disability when we no longer can?People with intellectual and developmental disabilities have less than 20% of the number of relationships compared to a typical person. This leads to loneliness, which is more harmful to our health than smoking a pack of cigarettes every day. In this video, I explain how to build relationships. You can create a happy and full life for your loved one with a developmental or...


#057: Imagining Better, with Michael Kendrick

How to create a life worth living? … am I implying that there are lives that aren’t worth living? This a big question that I ask you to consider for yourself. People with developmental disabilities are devalued and suppressed (largely unconsciously) by society, our families and even ourselves (I am guilty too). When a person is devalued, it is very difficult to access the opportunities that everyone else can access, and often results in isolation, loneliness, and suffering. Again, I...


#056: How To Create The Good Life, with Genia Stephen

Here is the secret.... it is to start with developing valued roles. What is a valued role? A valued roles is the answer you give to the question 'What do you do?' when you meet someone new. [more on valued roles below] Guest Genia Sthphen also shares her story as a sibling, a mother to two sons, and how she has helped to create the good life for her son Will. Professionally, Genia is a midwife to many, and an activist with a mission to band together with families to joyfully pursue the...


#055: Navigating Grief, with Yvonne Heath

Yvonne defines grief, how to support others that are grieving, and shares her 7 takeaways to navigate through life, grief, and end of life. In this episode of the Empowering Ability podcast, we have an in-depth conversation on grief with nurse and author, Yvonne Health. In this conversation, Yvonne defines grief, how to support others that are grieving, the difference between quality and quantity of life, and her 7 takeaways to navigate through life, grief, and end of life. Yvonne is an...


#054: Ben Drew's Mission to Fight Oppression and Create Ordinary Lives for People with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities

Learn about the Open Future Learning training resource for supporters of people that have an IDD, & how Ben Drew is fighting the oppression of people with IDDs. In this podcast/ blog I had a pleasure of speaking with Ben Drew, Founder of Open Future Learning. Ben has over 20 years of experience working with people with an intellectual or developmental disability starting as learning disability nurse, then going on to create an individualized housing and support service, and he is now the...


#053: Personal Support Networks, with Rebecca Pauls

In this episode, you will learn all about Personal Support Networks! You might have heard of support circles, circles, microboards, or aroha's (there are probably names I'm missing), but theses are all forms of Personal Support Networks. Rebecca Pauls, Director of Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network (PLAN), shares with us with us what a Personal Support Network is, how they can benefit you, and how to go about building one. Rebecca is the Director of Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network...


#052: Creating a Pathway to Employment, with Joe Dale

Joe Dale and I explore the untapped labour pool of people with disabilities, uncover the benefits of employing people with disabilities, and discuss approaches people with disabilities can take to gain employment. Today businesses are asking, ‘Where do we find good people?’, and people with disabilities are asking ‘Where do I get a job?’. This podcast/ blog with Joe Dale, Executive Director of the Ontario Disability Employment Network (ODEN), explores these questions. Joe has worked in...


#051: 9 Insights on Creating a Home for People with Disabilities

Learn from world class experts on housing for people with developmental disability. I’m excited to bring you this podcast/ blog episode on the best of creating a home for people with intellectual/ developmental disabilities (IDD). In this episode, I have compiled audio clips that provide insights from 9 interviews I’ve completed with guests on creating a home for people with disabilities, along with my insights as a family coach. My desire to share this with you also comes from the...


#050: We Are All Caregivers, With Donna Thomson

Author and speaker, Donna Thomson, takes us on the journey of a caregiver. In Episode #050, I had the pleasure of interviewing Donna Thomson and we dove into the topic of caregiving. Donna is an author and speaker on issues relating to family caregiving, disability and aging. She is a patient and family advisor on health research and policy. Donna teaches family caregivers how to advocate for care in hospital and in the community. If you find this read interesting you can listen to...


#049: Mental Health is Health, with Dr. Yona Lunsky

Dr. Yona Lunsky discusses state of mental health and developmental disability, how to notice mental health challenges, and different treatments. In this episode, I welcome Dr. Yona Lunsky on to the podcast to talk about developmental disability (DD) and Mental Health. Dr. Yona Lunsky is Director of the Azriei Centre for Adult Neurodevelopmental Disabilities and Mental Health, and Director of the Health Care Access Research and Developmental Disabilities (H-CARDD) Program at CAMH. She is...


#048: Personal Transformation and Disability, with Ted Kuntz

Ted Kuntz shares his journey of personal transformation as he realized the who he wanted to be in the world with his son Joshua and with others. Ted Kuntz is a gifted psychotherapist and the author of the best-selling books, Peace Begins With Me and 8 Weeks to A Better Relationship. Ted has a Master's Degree in Counseling Psychology and more than 25 years experience as a clinician and a consultant. Much of Ted’s wisdom has come from his personal journey as the father of a child with severe...


#047: Mindshift & Enlightened Attentiveness, with Michael Kendrick

Learn how people with disabilities have lived, how they are living, and what we have learned from renowned consultant Michael Kendrick. [4-minute read, 65-minute listen] It is my pleasure to bring to you episode #047 with well-known international consultant in Human Services, Michael Kendrick PhD. Michael is involved in consulting, education and evaluative work with many governments, private agencies, advocacy groups, community organizations, universities and colleges across the globe....


#046: Re-Writing Our Stories, with Brian Raymond King

Brian shares his story of multiple health challenges and family adversities, and his insights about how we can re-write our story and take control of our lives. In this episode, I have an engaging conversation with life coach, Brian Raymond King. Throughout Brian’s life he’s been a student of adversity as he experienced multiple health diagnosis including; cancer, ADHD and MS – as well as going through a divorce, and being a single parent to three children with ADHD. Brian shares his...