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Dj with disabilities finds new creative career

Dj with disabilities finds new creative career

Local DJ and music mixer Patrick Deady was attacked on Vancouver’s Davie Street in the spring of 2013. The brutal beating left Deady, also known by his DJ name Soolah, with a traumatic head injury and disabilities including short term memory loss, tinnitus and hearing loss and sensitivity to sound.

Those physical challenges would have been difficult for anyone to adapt to, but they were devastating for someone with a career in music. A year after the assault, Deady had completed most of the rehab for his injuries, but he didn’t feel he had much to look forward to.

“I had nothing on the go. I was scraping by on medical disability. I was totally worried about my future and I was worried about just getting through the day,” he says.

Then Patrick heard he might be able to get help training for a new career through the Vancouver City Centre Work BC Employment Services Centre. He dropped in and started working with case manager, Lisa. He felt a rapport with her immediately.

“She’s so understanding, which really helps when you are dealing with disabilities,” says Deady.

In turn, Lisa was impressed by Deady’s can-do attitude. “He always participated in everything. He was very eager. He did some of the basic workshops we have, like career exploration. Then we referred him for a neuro-psychological assessment to see what kind of work he would be good at now. The results suggested that one of the things he would be good at would be hairstyling.”

That option stood out to both Lisa and Patrick because of its creativity.

“Patrick is incredibly artistic,” says Lisa. “For him to be happy in a career, it was clear he had to have something that used that ability.”

Today Patrick is learning his new craft at Suki’s Hair Academy, after having received a WorkBC grant to cover his tuition.

“I’ve been in class for seven weeks now. I really like it. It’s more challenging than I expected but that’s good, because I’m supposed to challenge my brain,” Patrick says with a grin.

And Patrick has gone from despairing to hopeful.

“I’m going to have a career I think I’m going to enjoy. I’ve gone from despair to very hopeful. I’m getting my life back.”

He’s also very grateful to Lisa and the rest of the crew at the City Centre Employment Services Centre.”Lisa is just a gem. We need to clone her. She just goes way above and beyond. Right now she’s looking into getting me a recorder to help me visually remember what I’m learning… she’s totally looking out for me.”

Patrick has high praise for all the staff at the Employment Services Centre. “Everyone there was really good at what they do. If you need help with your work life, you should definitely check them out.”

Other people with disabilities the staff at the Employment Services Centre have been able to help include a former carpenter whose career was derailed by muscular dystrophy and a man isolated by his hearing loss. The former carpenter is now retraining in computer animation, while the man who was hard of hearing now has hearing aids and has started his own cleaning business and has become financially solvent.

Work BC Employment Services Centres provide free career support to people with disabilities. Programs exist to facilitate post-secondary education, help people gain work experience, or grow their own businesses.

The centre also help employers interested in hiring people with disabilities. They can fund assistive devices, renovations, and even services such as interpreting, captioning, and personal care attendant training.