At 25 years of age, Kyle has never allowed others to see him as what society calls "disabled." From the doctors saying he would never sit, stand, or walk, to him taking his first steps at three years old, his mother has always taught him that "there is no such thing as can't." Kyle has spent his whole life teaching others this and hopes to change the minds of many more in this lifetime. Kyle has started an initiative set on redefining ability and breaking down stereotypes set for those who live with physical difficulties in an attempt to create a fully inclusive society, not just a society that is tolerant for people who live with physical difficulties.
1. Describe yourself in 5 words.
“No such thing as can’t.”
If you ask anyone who knows me, this is probably the sentence they would give you. To me this is not only a phrase or a “nice saying,” it is my way of life and has been for 22 of my 25 years. When I was still in the womb and my mom went in for her ultrasound, the doctors told her I wouldn’t sit without ties, stand without a standing frame, and I would never walk… Boy were they talking to the wrong little lady!
My mother, who was 22 years old at the time, decided that she would make a list of everything the doctors said I would never do, and show them I could! During therapy for learning to walk, the walking was the easy part, but it was the falling and getting back up that really sucked! You see, the therapists would kick my crutch to knock me down and after an hour of that I got really fed up and would say, “Mommy, I can’t!” to which she would reply, “but Kyle, there’s no such thing as can’t!”
2. What are you most passionate about?
My passion is and always has been teaching others that nobody is disabled. Disabled is society's way of being lazy and using an outdated word to describe a human being that has difficulty getting a task done and needs to do it a different way. All too often I have had people tell me how inspirational I am for going to work or for taking the bus by myself. You see, these are the things that get to me. I hope to one day change society’s views on people who live with physical difficulties— this is my passion.
3. If you could change anything in the world, what would it be?
If I could change anything in the world, it would be to change the minds of people who live with and without physical difficulties and teach them that just because someone accomplishes a task differently doesn’t mean that they are “disabled” — a word that is also used for mechanical devices to label them as not functional.
4. What is your favourite quote?
If you haven't guessed by now, my favourite quote is from my mother, “but Kyle, there's no such thing as can’t!” It has been my driving force for as long as I can remember.
While “no such thing as can’t” gave me the right attitude, this next quote gives me the mindset to know how to use that attitude. It tells me that no matter what comments I get from people about how amazing I am for doing my daily activities, and how much I want to break it down for these people, sometimes you have to let things go.
"The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think, say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company... a church... a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play the one string we have, and that is our attitude... I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our attitudes.” - Charles Swindoll
5. Describe a challenge you have overcome and how you dealt with it.
If you meet me you’ll understand that I don't see things as challenges, but as new things to accomplish. There aren’t too many things in my days that I see as “difficult.” I see so many opportunities to do things differently. It is this thought process that allows me to overcome any potential challenges in life.
6. If you could remove one barrier what would it be?
If I could remove one barrier it would be society. It would be the parents who tell their children, “Oh Joey, don’t stare,” when Joey is three because he will grow up not staring and won't even grow up talking to someone in a wheelchair because he doesn't know and will be afraid of offending someone. I wish I could remove the mindset that some people have where they “don't want to be an advocate for everyone who has what they have.” Why not? Why not be your own advocate and get your message out? Yes I understand it's difficult for some to speak to lots of people, but if people who live these lives don’t speak up, who will?
7. What are you most grateful for?
I’m most grateful for my mother's gift to me: my attitude. Sure I can come across as abrupt sometimes, but that's just who I’ve needed to become in this world. I find myself working with so many outspoken people that if I don't just jump in and speak my mind, I will never be heard. That is what scares me most in this world, leaving without ever being heard. I want to change the world, one person at a time.