Award-winning author Nelson Lauver talks importance of disabilities employment

Megan Fischer

Nelson Lauver did not know he had dyslexia until he was 29 years old; he was functionally illiterate when he graduated from high school.

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Nelson Lauver, an award-winning author, talks about some of the difficulties he had as he went through his schooling with dyslexia at his presentation on Tuesday night in Clark A. (Photo Credit: Megan FIscher)

Lauver, award-winning author of the book “Most Unlikely to Succeed,” and creator of The American Storyteller Radio Journal, which aired on more than 150 radio stations, spoke to Colorado State University faculty, staff and students Tuesday.

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“I’m not crazy about the word disability,” Lauver said.

Lauver said he was 29 years old before he even heard the word dyslexic, much less been diagnosed with dyslexia.

“At that time they thought education could be beaten into a child,” Lauver said. “And, it was horrible.”

George Tsai, equal opportunity assistant director, arranged for Lauver to come speak with Colorado State.

“I thought he had a very cool message,” Tsai said. “He was very charismatic.”

James Folkestad is an associate professor in the school of education at Colorado State, and started reading Lauver’s book in anticipation of his presentation.

“The stories he tells [in his book] describe how difficult it was for him, mainly in middle and high school,” Folkestad said.

Folkestad said he is trying to figure out ways to implement technology more to help students with disabilities.

“It’s a great idea to use technology to help students,” Folkestad said.

Lauver said when it comes to employing people with disabilities, they should be hired because they are creative and have a certain type of determination that exceeds that of those without disabilities.

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“Regardless of if you have a disability or not, you are going to get knocked down,” Lauver said. “You have to get back up.”

Collegian Campus Beat Reporter Megan Fischer can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @MegFischer04.