The Disability Experience - Carrie Raabe

Carrie RaabeMs. Carrie Raabe was familiar with the presentation circuit prior to her employment at the Institute for Human Development in March of 2005.  While presenting to Northern Arizona University classrooms about her life and role as a self-advocate, she was offered an office assistant position with IHD.  When asked if the decision was easy to make regarding working at IHD she stated, “not right away, but when things clicked, it made sense”.  Carrie enjoys working at IHD and remarked in the following way about what it means to her, “I like helping others”.

Nowadays, between stints at the shredder and deliveries campus wide, Carrie is an integral part of the Disability Experience project.  Teamed with others in the department, Carrie travels the state of Arizona presenting on issues related to understanding the experiences of people with disabilities.  Facilitating dialogue with participants in a Disability Experience presentation is one of Carrie’s favorite things to do.  She feels that the audience “is really not sure what you are going to talk about…but, by the end of it they actually live their lives better”.  In her unassuming way, Carrie stated the following about the Disability Experience, “when people see others like me shine through their disability, the audience gives more acknowledgements (to the disability community)”.  

The goal of the Disability Experience project is to engage the community (e.g., school groups, business and government organizations, non-profits) in conversation on how the general public can truly welcome and include people of all abilities into the life of the community. The project has also developed a web-based module that is currently available to university faculty for infusion into any course.

In closing the interview, Carrie reminded people of three things to take with them, “You can do it, get through this day, and have a positive mental attitude”.

Please contact Lynne Corbin (Lynne.Corbin@nau.edu) or Kathy Mahosky (Katherine.Mahosky@nau.edu) for more information on the Disability Experience project.