By Jim Hasse, ABC, GCDF, Disability Employment Expert
Here's an education speaker who can elicit this response from your students: “I enjoyed the skits ... students performed. They made it interactive, and it grabbed my attention."
That response came from Melissa, a New Haven, CT, student, after attending a TALK the WALK event at her school - a session conducted by Richard James Luby, who was born in 1983 with cerebral palsy (CP).
That’s precisely why I believe your students (from middle school through college) need to hear Luby in person. He's the owner of Talk The Walk, LLC, an action-based disability and inclusion training service.
Attend a Talk the Walk event, and you’ll see your students not only part of the audience. They'll be the lesson, story, and presentation as well. Luby has the ability to capture and maintain the attention of an audience through participation and comedic improv. He has learned that involved attention yields retention of key lessons.
But, things were not always so rosy for Luby.
CP gave him a limp and learning disabilities. As a kid, he was held back in kindergarten and struggled with math in grade school.
“I kind of started giving up on myself at a young age,” he says. “It was a struggle to be accepted. That’s the biggest thing. If I sit down and I’m talking to you, there’s no way you’d know that I have a disability. But, once I get up and walk around, it is noticeable.”
But, in fourth grade, Luby found humor could break down barriers. It became his coping method.
“If I could make people laugh in class — even at the expense of getting detention or suspension — the other students would talk to me,” he explains.
Fast forward into the 21st Century. Luby has earned a B.S. degree in sociology from Southern Connecticut State University. He is successfully applying his educational and personal experiences to help others grow in self-awareness, self-esteem and self-confidence. After serving almost two years as Director of Partnership Development (for national initiatives/relationships) for Ability Beyond in Connecticut, Luby has opened up shop on his own.
While working at Ability Beyond, Luby has refined his listening, learning, training and placement skills. He has observed the career growth of diverse applicants within the disability community. These applicants have confirmed his conviction that ability defines the individual applicant and employer -- not labels.
He’s also gained strategic planning experience at Ability Beyond, serving PepsiCo, Wounded Warrior Project, and numerous state vocational rehabs and service providers throughout the U.S (in Connecticut, Minnesota, Texas and Nevada).
“What I realized then is that I really enjoy teaching,” Luby says.
Public speaking was the natural avenue.
Today, Luby believes in his ability and considers his disability as an opportunity to show how using appropriate humor can facilitate everyday interaction and help individuals attain goals.
As a professional speaker and founder of TALK the WALK, LLC., he uses comedic improv to deliver impactful lessons through real-world life experiences.
Here’s how he describes his services:
“We are an interactive and entertaining experience. We take real-world life experiences and use comedic improv to deliver impactful lessons. Talk the Walk provides viewpoints and tools for you, your company, and community to be successful in walking your own walk. Our interactive approach allows our audiences to not only listen to what is said but put what they hear into action!"
Luby would especially like to help special education teachers work with at-risk students so they can effectively bridge the gap between high school and adult life.
“Richard was faced with a challenge in life and turned it into an opportunity to help others and now serves as a role model,” Dorinda Borer, former West Haven (Connecticut) Board of Education member and PTA president, says.
My recommendation for your group of students: Use the form below to contact Richard James Luby and schedule a personal appearance for your next event.
Luby is ready to help your group address these topics:
Training Modules: Each bullet represents one hour of training information.
1. Enhancing the Relationship
2. Career Planning
4. Job Developing
Contact Richard James Luby by using the form below to schedule a TALK the WALK appearance for your next student gathering. He'll help you build an event that will meet your specific needs.
Return from Education Speaker to Cerebral Palsy Career Builders
This is Creative Commons content. You can freely and legally use, share and repurpose it for non-commercial purposes only, provided you attach this sentence and the following attribution to it (including the two links):
Originally written and illustrated by Jim Hasse, ABC, GCDF, owner of Hasse Communication Counseling, LLC, who, as a person with cerebral palsy, served for 10 years as a vice president in a Fortune 500 company during his 29-year career in corporate communication. He’s an Accredited Business Communicator, certified as a Global Career Development Facilitator and author of 14 Amazon books about disability awareness and disability employment issues.