For those who are avid followers, you may know that I’ve had an intern college student for the summer. You came to know him as Ian. I’ve kept a secret from you all because there’s more to Ian than meets the eye.
Ian has Cerebral Palsy and is probably the brightest young man I know. He came recommended to me by a friend and though I am open minded on many aspects, sometimes I catch myself making assumptions when it comes to disabilities. Should I admit that out loud? Maybe not but this blog is about keeping it real. I will honestly say though, if I would have just based my decision on assumptions without talking to him first, I would have missed out this summer. He’s done some pretty amazing things during his time with us.
My loudest wake up call for egg on my face was during his interview. His condition affects his gait in the way he walks and medium to severe body discomfort 100% of the time. Where he lacks in some areas, he’s put his mind to good use to build skills that are marketable and really keen for knowledge.
Ian didn’t require any training to any real degree which made the transition really quick and simple. He put his personal time into helping some of our community members and within our company to ensure we were going through our growing process as smoothly as possible.
To officially answer the 100’s of emails that came in. No, Ian doesn’t crochet because his hands don’t allow for the fine movements required to crochet. This was a non-issue for me because we needed his help in more technical aspects. He can type 80 words per minute, probably a lot more accurately than I can, he’s no stranger to a computer.
He has empathy and passion for the work he performs. When he fails, he’s a lot like me where he feels the burden of a bad decision but then learns from it. We are more similar than you may realize.
Within a few short weeks of working with him, I overlooked his disability by the accomplishments of what he’s been able to achieve. For me, I don’t take notice of it unless something is obviously noticeable. He may stumble as his knees and muscles in his legs don’t move like they should. His disability isn’t defining him because he’s worked toward other avenues where it has no bearing on his productivity.
This summer, I grew from his ideas. For me, I work alone and in my office for up to 14 hours each day. For a ‘real person’ to talk to me during the day is something I never considered before hiring him. Everything I do is quiet, listening to dance music on the iTunes radio but truly never hearing the sound of someone’s real voice. Daniel leaves me alone during my working hours so I can try to maintain the community we have built. I never realized how much I concentrate to continue to create the content that is seen by the audience. At times, was very distracting and this is a personal lesson I need to work on for the future. There are times where I am writing an article and Ian is striking up a conversation, I would be like “Unless you are dying in that chair, I need to concentrate and don’t talk to me until I am done my article.” I know what you are thinking, Mikey that’s a bitchy thing to say… trust me I feel like some days that too! This was probably thee biggest lesson of my summer.
With The Crochet Crowd, it’s about learning and growing. It goes beyond stitches and free patterns. Our lives are entangled with each other’s personal stories. There’s definitely more to The Crochet Crowd than crochet.