Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Motivational Speaker

Welcome, Amazon Readers!

Filed under: General — by Glenda at 5:39 pm on Thursday, November 3, 2016

Welcome! And thank you for reading Emerging from the Cocoon of Silence: My Journey from Non-Verbal to Motivational Speaker. I hope you found it to be a worthwhile read. Please feel free to email me if you have any questions.
I have gathered these blog posts for your continued reading pleasure:

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Daring to Follow a Dream Leads to Deliciously Ironic Employment

Filed under: Living with a disability — by Glenda at 2:48 pm on Monday, October 31, 2016

Glenda speaking on stage, with the text "I AM a speaker, no matter what!" superimposed on photo

Back in high school, public speaking was definitely not on my list of top career choices. It ranked way down near the bottom with neurosurgery. Likewise, my top career options were also rather limited.

As you may know, I have cerebral palsy, which, for the most part, affects my balance, muscle coordination and speech. Back when I was searching for employment opportunities, entry level office positions – my only glimmer of possibility – required a minimum typing speed and the ability to answer the telephone. However, my left thumb – the only digit I can use for typing – did not meet expectations, and my unique Glenda-ish did not make the phone my best friend. I was disqualified from most positions before the conversation even got to my abilities, talents and interests.

I persevered and some time after completing my Bachelor of Arts degree from Simon Fraser University, I did land a part-time job at my alma mater, making the existing career mentor program accessible to students and alum with disabilities; a job I loved. When the project funding ended, so did my job.

After much searching, I could not find another employer willing to give me an opportunity to prove what I was capable of offering as an employee. Self-employment was my only option.

I competently completed any work opportunity that came my way: writing a literature review for a homelessness project, editing sermons for a pastor’s book, writing articles for various websites, maintaining a website for a non-profit arts organization. To me, those were survival jobs – equivalent to pumping gas and waiting tables – they put some food on the table, but not much more.

Gradually I built a solid reputation as a web accessibility consultant; making websites accessible to people with all kinds of disabilities. Web accessibility was an understandable career path for me and there is still much left to be done in the field but, after fourteen years, I felt so burnt out that if I had to explain the need for text descriptions of images one more time, I would stab my eyes out with a yellow HB pencil.

Advances in technology – namely, the iPad and the text-to-speech app Proloquo4Text – have enabled me to take my career in a bold new direction; one that was impossible, inconceivable back in high school. That of being a well-paid, internationally-known motivational speaker to inspire people who are silently screaming “There’s more to me!” and, yet, they are standing in their own way from moving forward.

In August, I traveled to Toronto for the honour and privilege of delivering the ISAAC 2016 Consumer Lecture as a plenary session at the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISAAC) Conference. I delivered Finding Your True Dream, The North Star for Your Life’s Journey – which has since become my signature talk – to approximately 600-800 people.

Here is a brief clip:

Being up there on the stage, sharing my story and the five elements of a dream, felt so right. This is what I am meant to do, where I am meant to be, at this point in my life. It is a destiny I fully accept and embrace, and an irony I savour as absolutely delicious.

Sometimes finding employment means daring to follow a dream, no matter what!


For more information about my signature talk Finding Your True Dream, The North Star for Your Life’s Journey, please download my speaker onesheet. Feel free to share with anyone you know who is looking for speakers for conferences or events. Thanks kindly.

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AUDI 546

Filed under: General — by Glenda at 4:59 pm on Friday, March 18, 2016

Welcome AUDI 546 students!

Thank you for the opportunity to share my communication story with you this morning. As promised, here’s the transcript from my presentation.

In addition, here are several posts you might find of particular interest:

If you enjoy what you read, I invite you to sign up to receive my blog updates via email:

All of the best to you. Thank you.

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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Optometrist Scores Average on Eye Exam, Patient Enlightens Once Again

Filed under: Living with a disability — by Glenda at 5:53 pm on Monday, January 18, 2016

Reading glasses set beside Don Miguel Ruiz's The Four AgreementsWith headaches so painful I felt like I would puke, an optometrist appointment was reluctantly made.

Reluctantly because my last appointment three years ago left me feeling devalued and depleted, and took all of my inner strength not to burst into tears.

This feeling had nothing to do with the condition of my eyes, but, rather, the ill-prepared, unenlightened way the optometrist communicated with me and my jerky, constantly moving, speech impaired body.

After that disastrous appointment, I wrote an letter to the optometrist and hand delivered it to the office. Even though I requested that the letter be placed in my file for next time, in preparation for this latest appointment I printed a copy to give to the next optometrist.

I was somewhat hesitant to hand the letter to the new-to-me optometrist because I didn’t want to assume he was as unenlightened as the previous doctor. I then realized the exam would have more of a chance of going smoothly if I gave him a fair chance to succeed. I handed him the letter.


Autobiography: amzn.to/U6N5uW
Blog: www.doitmyselfblog.com
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/glendawatsonhyatt
Twitter: @GlendaWH

October 19, 2012

Dear Optometrist:

After my eye exam on Monday, October 15th, I left the office feeling devalued and depleted. I am hoping by sharing the following information, the next exam will go smoother for both of us.

As you might know, I have athetoid cerebral palsy. For me, this means I lack muscle control and coordination. My physical movements are jerky and involuntary; one body part or another is in constant motion. My speech is also significantly impaired, yet can be understood by individuals who take the time to listen.

However, my hearing, understanding and cognition are not affected. There is no need to speak loudly, to repeat yourself or to use simple vocabulary for me to comprehend.

Next time I will grab my iPad from my scooter basket before my scooter is moved out of the way so that I have a more effective means of communication at hand.

My head control is tenuous at times. When conducting the eye pressure test and other such tests during which my head must remain still in a certain position, it might be helpful to have someone hold my head steady.

My eyes closing when something is approaching is a strong, uncontrollable reflex. Repeatedly stating that I need to open my eyes for the eye drops is not productive. Perhaps another method can be found to achieve the same result.

Please keep this letter in my file so that it will be handy for my next appointment.

Perhaps in that time you could consult with colleagues and other optometrists for further suggestions on how to best serve patients with cerebral palsy and other neurological disorders.

Working together will ensure successful care for my vision.

Respectfully,
Glenda Watson Hyatt


The optometrist read the letter, thanked me for the information and proceeded with examining my eyes. He was extremely patient when my head twitched like a bobblehead that had just  downed a few cups of espresso.

However, perhaps “…my hearing, understanding and cognition are not affected” was not written clearly enough in the letter as he made a great effort to gesture while he was talking. He went as far as to write “2012” on a small Post-It note when he asked if my last glasses were in 2012.

In Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements, the third agreement is: "Don’t make assumptions."

Don’t assume that I do not hear or do not understand because my speech is unclear or because I may communicate in another manner.

Making that assumption really does say more about you than it says about me. And, honestly, it does not portray you in your best light.

Asking me, ”Can you hear and understand me okay? Is there anything else I need to do when communicating with you?” would portray you in a much more enlightened light.

On the bright side, this optometrist would make a fantastic partner while playing Charades.


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Please Be Boston-bound for InBound

Filed under: Motivation — by Glenda at 11:52 pm on Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Glenda Watson Hyatt

in July 2010, I had the pleasure of presenting on a panel Living with a Disability in the Web 2.0 Era at the Plain Talk Conference held in Alexandria, Virginia.

While at the event, I met two women who worked in the web accessibility field in Boston. Upon parting, one of them extended an invitation to meet up, if I am ever in Boston.

My immediate thought, of course, was Yeah, right, when will I ever be in Boston?

Fast forward to May 31st, 2014: I was trying to navigate through the still-under-renovation Main Street Shytrain Station on my way to a speaking gig, when a song line suddenly popped into my head out of apparently nowhere: Please come to Boston.

Huh? That was the only line that came to mind from a song I know I knew, but I couldn’t recall any other words.

While I was searching for the new elevator at the far end of the expanded platform: Please come to Boston.

While I was scooting along the sidewalks, trying to concentrate on finding the venue in a part of town I wasn’t particularly familiar with: Please come to Boston.

Again, huh? Where was that coming from? And, perhaps equally as important, what did it mean?

(Welcome to the inner workings of my brain! Total chaos most of the time.)

I managed to quiet the voices in my head in time to deliver my presentation; my second one using my iPad. And, yeah, I kinda rocked it!

Glenda using her iPad to deliver a speech

Afterwards, Karen, my partner in crime since we were 7 year old Brownies, and I went to Starbucks around the corner. Karen, who also serves as my editor on speed dial, was excited to see me deliver a presentation live. Likely to prepare herself for the next round of editing, she asked what was the next speaking gig I had lined up. At that point, my schedule was open, which is kind of an empty feeling for someone who is trying to get her speaking career going.

While Karen checked her phone for an email message she wanted me to read, I took advantage of the free wifi to check Facebook. Much to my delight, there was a private message from Laura Fitton, who I had first met as @Pistachio on Twitter years ago and then met in person at a BlogWorld Conference in Las Vegas.

She messaged me to invite me to do a 12-minute Bold Talk on any topic I am passionate about, much like a TED Talk. This would be at InBound, with an expected registration of 8,000. The Bold Talks take place in a room with a capacity of 1,000! (I had just finished speaking to a room with 20 attendees, max.) In Boston.

INBOUND 2014 Speaker - September 15-18, 2014 - Boston, MA

Seriously?!

I am presenting my Bold Talk “Go Beyond: Stare Your Fear in the Face and Boldly Go for It!” at INBOUND 2014 next Wednesday, in Boston!

Boston, here I come.

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