Mr. Elliot Smith is an advocate like no other. This past year, I had the privilege of working with Elliot to help tell his story of finding meaningful employment. Mr. Smith’s story is one of determination and persistence. After volunteering his time and energy to develop employable skills through resume writing, interview skills, and internships, Elliot has gained great clarity about how others with ADHD or Autism may find meaningful work. It’s not about having to change as an employee, but about how employers perceive “abilities.” Mr. Smith has successfully contributed to a national dialogue on accessible and inclusive employment through his article published in the Canadian Journal of Autism Equity. As a Grandview Graduate and an active member of the Grandview Kids Youth Advisory Council, I strongly feel that Elliot is actively addressing systemic barriers and redefining the ways in which society perceives ability. Best of all, Elliot has found a job he loves with the Abilities Centre, further leading the nation in demonstrating how to successfully implement accommodations while celebrating the differences we all have. I am grateful to have met Elliot and for the work, he leads as a role model to all children and youth in the Durham Region and across Canada. Mr. Smith continues to advocate for meaningful employment through conference presentations and participation in local workforce studies. His voice has power, and he is using it for all the right reasons – leading the charge for a better, more inclusive, and accessible future for all those who follow. You can read Mr. Smith’s article here: https://mulpress.mcmaster.ca/cjae/article/view/4900/4272
This year has been amazing watching Elliott redefine the way society perceives disability in sport. Elliott represented Canada as the captain of the Oshawa Vikings at the International Mixed Ability Rugby Tournament in Ireland this June. He came home with a silver medal and lots of stories to share. Elliott wrote his story into a book that has been published and is being sold to raise funds for Mixed Ability Sport in Canada. He has done book readings at various events and schools to teach kids that sport is for everyone! Elliott has been influential as a Mixed Ability Sport Ambassador, providing presentations to local sports clubs and spreading the word about the impact Mixed Ability Sport can have. Elliott is not only overcoming systemic barriers himself, but he is helping to remove them for others. Through Elliott’s storytelling, he is sharing his experience and making sure people know that NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE!