Tracy Allen, FASD Awareness Southeast Co-founder, recently received this wonderful letter via LinkedIn #BeAware. Thank you both for sharing your story, truly inspirational.
“May I just start with saying how much I admire your work and passion for what you do. I hope the story I tell inspires everyone to reach for their dreams, regardless of their circumstances. Sometimes our self-perception can hold us back from attaining our full potential.
I am a director/owner of a law firm in Belfast. Approximately 8 years ago I was advertising a post for a new receptionist; as you can imagine the main focus of this job was to be sociable, good at handling/taking phone calls, good memory and the ability to work under pressure.
I interviewed quite a few candidates, all of which were highly skilled and suitable for the job, however I interviewed one girl in particular that impressed me more than all of the candidates.
This girl sat down and I could tell she was nervous but making such an effort not to show it. I began the interview and noticed that this girl's speech was very slow and her co-ordination of words and sentences were cognitively displaced. This did not put me off at all.
As if reading my mind, she said I am aware of my disability and she told me that she had FASD. I am also a trained therapist so I knew a little about the condition and we chatted about the effects on her everyday life.
Her biggest concern was being judged by others and not being able to prove herself and her abilities. I was absolutely inspired by this girl and I hired her.
We sat together for a number of months, I taught her the skills of the job and helped her with the social aspect, i.e. clients approaching her. It did not take long before she wanted to do it alone and I was so impressed by her quick progress that I let her.
This girl is still with me and is a highly valued member of staff. I can honestly say I could not do without her, if she takes a holiday the clients miss her!
So, for anyone out there doubting themselves, please find the strength to believe in yourself – you too can grow wings and fly. There is a life out there for all of us regardless of our circumstances, we just need to believe.