Sunday, March 15, 2009

Customized Employment: Redefining Employment Strengths

For the past three years, I have been writing here about the importance of integrated employment and using strengths-based strategies such as customized and supported employment to promote the employability of youth and adults with disabilities. I appreciate limitations of the written word as a means for communicating and educating the public about these principles. As the old Chinese proverb goes: “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

Well, about a week ago, I received an email from a colleague of mine that communicates about strengths-based employment practices in ways I could never accomplish with my keyboard. It's a short video about two artists who are outstanding ballet dancers. The dance movements of this couple are strikingly beautiful and powerful. And the amazing part of this presentation is that both of the individuals have visible disabilities that would appear on the surface to be illogical to achieving artistic and career success as dancers. I love this piece because it redefines how strengths are sometimes counterintuitive to conventional thinking when it comes to choosing a career and managing a “disability” in the workforce.

The title of this dance presentation is “Hand in Hand.” The dancers are Ma Li and Zai Xiaowei and the ballet choreography is by Zhao Limin. If you would like to watch this five minute presentation, click on the start arrow below. Trust me, you won't be disappointed.



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