“It’s time,” says Aunia Kahn, “to realize that when we’re sitting in a room with a group of people, there are likely disabled people in that group.” Kahn is on a public mission to foster support for anybody with disabilities. Her reason? “I have a very severe but invisible disability, so I have been able to hide it for years,” she says. “It is time to step out.”
For almost 20 years, Kahn struggled with a set of illnesses that went unnoticed by medical professionals. Despite repeatedly seeking help, she was repeatedly dismissed and even institutionalized twice based on being mentally unwell. In 2016, she relocated to Oregon in pursuit of more comprehensive medical care. It wasn’t until 2018 that she was given a partially accurate diagnosis, which she achieved largely through her research. Finally, with a diagnosis that helped unravel her health issues, Kahn’s life was transformed.
“That’s when I felt ready to step out and start talking about and being open about being disabled,” explains Kahn.
Ehlers-Danlos syndromes (EDS): a group of inherited disorders that severely affect connective tissues, skin, bones and joints, blood vessel walls, and digestive organs. Mast disease: an untreatable blood cell disorder. Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome: causes abnormal heart rate increases. Add in dysautonomia, PTSD, cranio-cervical instability, dysphagia, esophageal dysmotility, neurodiversity, and more.
Kahn eats the same 10 foods in the same order every day or she risks life-threatening reactions. She’s allergic to laughing, crying, exercise, and heat. In effect, she’s a “bubble girl” locked indoors, wearing masks years before Covid. And yet, given her newly established diagnosis plus the safety of her home, her disabilities are largely invisible!
It needs to be said that Kahn is an accomplished solopreneur and mega-talented artist with polished skills in photography and digital painting. Over the past 25 years she’s built a home-based business in web design, digital marketing, and public speaking. She’s taught tech courses for online businesses and consulted with other online educators. She’s also founded and provided services to multiple nonprofit organizations supporting disabled business owners.
Aunia Kahn is a remarkable model of talent, drive, and accomplishment. There’s little doubt her renewed investment in promoting success for disabled individuals will result in healthier visibility for all involved.