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You Might Think I Need Help, but I Don’t

Ryan is shown in a hospital room wearing a white cap.

By Ryan Wilson

Team Trust, CEO

Because I have a disability, I think people assume I need help with everything.

They may think I need help with everyday tasks, and require a whole staff of personal assistants (PAs) to fill my needs.

This was the case for about 24 years of my life, but not any more.

I used to have a staff of about eight PAs in college, and I had an aid in elementary, junior and high schools to help me navigate crowded hallways and carry books.

I even had PAs up until the pandemic hit, and then the world shut down.

My PAs were all college students, and they were gone indefinitely. 

I had three options:

Stay with my parents for the duration of the pandemic;

Scramble to find any human being who would help me;

Forge ahead independently without any PAs.

I chose option 3, perhaps the riskiest of the three options.

While I had no help, I did have athlete friends with disabilities who led independent lives. 

They didn’t have PAs, and it seemed, with my increasing strength, I didn’t need PAs, either.

When I did have PAs, I carefully tested my strength and independence.

Could I cook without burning my home down? Yes.

Could I do laundry independently? Yes.

Could I transfer into the shower independently? Yes.

Turns out, I didn’t need PAs at all.

While this Is not universal for all persons with disabilities, it is one dose of a small, yet large achievement anybody with a disability has.

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