National AccessAbility Week – Ahmed Khan shares how he believes we can create more inclusive environments, in the workplace and beyond
In order to create more inclusive and accessible spaces, it’s important to listen to people experiencing, or supporting those who experience disabilities.
That’s why today, in honour of National AccessAbility Week, we spoke with Ahmed Kan, Software Developer for Core Services at Rogers, living with a birth condition called arthrogryposis, a form of muscular dystrophy.
Throughout his life, Ahmed has had 29 surgeries and, while there are potentially more to come, he continues to live every day with a strong sense of gratitude, optimism and motivation to share the importance of expressing your needs and building accessible environments, at work and beyond.
Question: National AccessAbility Week is an important opportunity to celebrate and highlight the need for accessibility and inclusion in our communities and workplaces. What does National AccessAbility Week mean to you?
Answer: National AccessAbility Week is important to me because the increase in awareness is integral to creating change in our society. With change already on the rise, it’s moments like this that really boost our progress, not only for people to gain awareness, but for people with disabilities to find out more about the resources that are available to them. National AccessAbility Week gives the opportunity for individuals to grow, brings communities together, and allows people to learn.
Question: Throughout your life, you’ve been very open about the various challenges you’ve experienced as a person living with a disability. Can you share a little bit about your lived experiences and how they’ve shaped you into the person you are today?
Answer: I’ve always believed that my success lies in my hands. I have the choice to quit or to keep growing. It’s not in my nature to sit. Sometimes, there are tough days and physically I can’t keep up. If I show good character and treat everyone with kindness, not only am I making the world a better place, I might be giving somebody else some motivation to just keep going.
Question: In your opinion, how can we all create more accessible environments in the workplace and beyond?
Answer: The work is happening, but I think we really need to push for people to be more vocal about how small changes can improve the quality of our accessibility experience. Although we can be outspoken about accessibility, there also needs to be someone to listen. With clear and safe communication, growth can take place. It may take time, but slowly but surely progress is happening.
Question: With all of the obstacles you’ve had to overcome, what is one message you’d like to share?
Answer: Even with all the surgeries and obstacles that I’ve had to face, I’ve always strived to be the best version of me. All because of the support system from family and friends, from school and SickKids Hospital, where I had the majority of treatments take place. You learn that all that is needed is some dedication and focus.