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Jonathan Mooney on Strategies to Thrive

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Jonathan Mooney on Strategies to Thrive

Jonathan Mooney shares strategies to help youth thrive in life.

  • Duration: 4 minutes
  • Date Posted: 3/11/2015
  • Topics: Family Support, Finding Strengths, Connecting Youth

Funding for this series was provided in part by the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation.


Yeah, I mean, first thing is to understand.

And then live deeply the idea that people don't have disabilities from my perspective.

They experience disabilities in environments that can't embrace or celebrate their differences.

And the thing that truly disables people is being treated and marginalized and belittled for having differences.

And it's the sense of shame, and it's the sense of being less than that is truly disabling.

So the more parents can invest in building that positive self-concept.

The more you can work with schools to change the learning environment and not the kid through accommodations and modifications.

And the more that we can build a culture that reframes these as differences to be celebrated.

That's the foundation of a positive life transition.

Second thing I would say is we got to help kids, young people get good at something.

You know, there's this tension in the world of disability where we spend so much time talking about what's wrong with kids that we really lose sight of what's right with them.

And more and more what we know about people who live lives that thrive.

And what I mean by that is folks who go off and have meaningful work.

They live in a meaningful community and have deep relationships.

People who go off to achieve those things are often people who have built a sort of strength-based pathway.

They're people who have found out what they're passionate about.

What they're good at.

What they're interested in.

And have aligned their education and employment around those things.

They're folks who have sort of accepted the things they can't change.

I can't change my spelling.

I can't change my reading.

And they've really scaled the things that they're good at.

And I was supported by that by my mom.

I was supported by it by many educators in my life.

And that was an important building block of my own transition.

You know, and the last thing I would say, and I said it before.

But it really needs to be repeated.

Give young people a sense that they're not alone.

That they're a part of a broad community of people who learn and live differently.

And the more that we know that, the more that we can have courage in raising our hands.

And sharing our stories.

And asking for help.

And telling people that I have dyslexia, which I'm proud to say.


We can have courage in that.

You know, and that's a big moment.

You know, I went to college.

I transferred to college.

And I remember that I felt I was the only one there.

And because I felt that I was the only kid with a learning disability there, I almost left.

I almost quit many, many different times.

What I learned over my time in college was I was far from the only one there.

That there are many people like me in every business and every school all around the world.

And the more that we can have that shared sense of being a part of a larger community, the more that we can understand that we're not alone.

The more resilient and perseverant we can be.

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