Fashion Friday - Nicole Cavanagh

This is Nicole Cavanagh from Hempstead, NY. She has a Diverse Ability called Athetoid Cerebral Palsy and this is her story:

"I am a 25 year old college student at Hofstra University studying Information Technology.  I went to the Henry Viscardi School (HVS) from kindergarten through 12th grade where I graduated at the top of my class.  HVS was a school for kids with physical Diverse Abilities.  After graduating high school in 2007, I attended Briarcliffe College where I studied Graphic Design for two and a half years.  I decided to switch colleges and my major to Information Technology in 2009.  In 2010, I attended Nassau Community College.  While I loved it there, after another two and a half years, I desperately wanted to live on my own, so I decided to go to Hofstra and dorm there.  All colleges only allow full-time students to dorm (those who take four or more classes per semester.)  Due to my Diverse Ability, I could only attend college as a part-time student because I type very slowly and simply cannot keep up if I were to take four classes per semester.  Thankfully, Hofstra allowed me to dorm even though I was only a part-time student.  I already had an aide  who had been with me since 2007; however, I needed additional aides since I now lived on my own and needed 24 hour care.  It was a completely new experience for me.  At one time, I actually resorted to posting on Hofstra’s Jobs and Internships Facebook page asking for an aide which ended up working out perfectly.  I believe that my greatest accomplishments have been graduating at the top of my class in high school, learning how to advocate for myself, and living on my own and dealing with issues with aides.

The DiversAble Model Project is important to me because it shows those with Diverse Abilities in a positive light without making us seem like some kind of inspiration.  We’re just modeling jewelry like non-disabled people do. It would be great if the fashion industry included those with Diverse Abilities without mentioning the persons disability, as to not make the photoshoot, or whatever it may be, about the person’s disability.  Too often, people with Diverse Abilities end up being portrayed as just a disability and not an actual person.

Non-disabled people's opinions of people with Diverse Abilities needs to change.  We are not to be pitied just because we use mobility aides, or to be thought of as inspirational just because we don’t let our disabilities prevent us from leading normal lives. We’re just regular people who just happen to do some things differently than you.

Thanks Nicole for just being a normal college student living a normal life! Your support of this project will help change lives.



Popular posts from this blog

Empty in every way

"The first night is the hardest"

Behind the Scenes