Welcome! My name is Shelley Nearing, and I am so happy to share a little of my journey with you in the hopes you will find common ground. I have spent my life as a disability activist while also being disabled myself. Like many in the community, I want to reach out and find moments of intersectionality and common fights with others. I’m just beginning the journey to root out ableism in our community.

Let me tell you a little bit about myself.

When my sister was born, a complication robbed her brain of oxygen which resulted in a lifetime of developmental disability and hearing impairment. Growing up around a high-support-needs person gave me a unique viewpoint. My sister enriched the lives of those she touched. I watched her be dismissed again and again because of her differences. I realized then what I wanted to do.

My path into disability activism started at 19 when I became a Community Support Worker. I spent my adult life working for the compassionate treatment of all people regardless of their “category”. With a Master of Disability and Community Studies (MDCS) in Disability Studies and 20 years working for equity in Calgary and the surrounding community, I am ready to bring share my knowledge from being on the front lines of activism with my education and passion for reaching a larger audience. Hint: that could be you! See more about my education and experience here (link resume)

I felt Different

From the time I was small, I knew that I experienced the world differently than my peers. It took nearly my whole life to find out exactly why. Perhaps because of a lifetime of feeling different than others, I have always been drawn to those whose lives are made harder because of our shared values about what it means to be normal and useful. What I found is an amazingly supportive group of people who enrich the diversity of humanity by their very existence. Whose abilities may not be “useful”, but they certainly are wonderful.

During my diagnosis (after successive misdiagnoses) as autistic, everything in my experience clicked. I wasn’t broken; I was just one of many who experienced the world differently than the norm. If you want to hear more about my story, the tricks I use to navigate the world as an autistic woman, follow me here on my blog, or on Twitter link. If you would like to talk to me about a speaking engagement or how to be a better ally to the disability community, I am always available via email(link) or just send me a note using the contact form.

Let’s get started!


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