National Entrepreneurship Month Spotlight: Lixon Nelson, A Pioneer for the Disabled

National Entrepreneurship Month Spotlight: Lixon Nelson, A Pioneer for the Disabled

Lixon Nelson – CEO, and Founder of the Alliance Community and Employment Services (ACES)

 

[SOUTH FLORIDA] – Mental health has been a popular topic in recent years, with a particular focus on the stigma surrounding it and those suffering from intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Younger generations have begun a crusade against the philosophies of older generations, opting more into the idea of therapy, speaking up and loud about their feelings, and creating a more inclusive space for the people around them.

Merriam Webster defines a safe space as a place intended to be free of bias, conflict, criticism, or potentially threatening actions, ideas, or conversations, so contrary to popular belief, it goes far beyond how it’s generally perceived by those who hear terms like social justice warrior, or politically correct, and immediately condemn them.

In particular, one individual has gone above and beyond in creating a safe space for those seeking refuge from the stigma of suffering from any type of disability.

Lixon Nelson, CEO, and Founder of the Alliance Community and Employment Services (ACES) and imuneek.com has been that champion for those with disabilities.

Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in 1980, Lixon and his family immigrated to the United States when he was just two years old.

Already having to deal with managing dyslexia, Lixon was later diagnosed with Crohn’s disease while he attended college. Dyslexia, a well-known learning disorder, involves difficulty reading due to problems identifying speech sounds and learning how they relate to letters and words, affecting areas of the brain that process language.

Though there’s no cure, early assessment and intervention can bring about the best results, and although it can go undiagnosed, it’s never too late to seek help. Paired with Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation along the digestive tract, leading to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, and malnutrition, it goes without saying that Lixon struggled with the challenges of living with his disability growing up, unable to truly find other individuals with the same disease to relate to, or gain support from.

Despite the obstacles that stood in his path, however, Lixon never grew discouraged, choosing to use the empty space as an opportunity to make sure others didn’t have to suffer alone with their disabilities.

He first founded the Alliance Community and Employment Services(ACES), a South Florida based non-profit organization which provides competitive education, training, and career services for individuals with disabilities, as well as those who are socially or economically disadvantaged.

On top of that, they provide services to individuals diagnosed with emotional, physical, and physiological disabilities, including those with hearing and visual disabilities, to help each member of their family recognize and achieve not only their true potential but true independence, despite their disability.

Progressing in the non-profit world, Lixon quickly discovered that technology had to potential to be a useful tool in providing a social networking site that could not only help connect him to others like him but become a catalyst to something much greater, a resource for others with disabilities to connect and have the ability of the resources required for their specific disability.

Soon after, he met Michael Arbitman, a former VP who had recently become blind, and together in 2010, they founded Imuneek.com.

This website serves as a personal virtual assistant that fulfilled Lixon’s goal of connecting a person with other people, support groups, specialists, organizations, and whatever else they needed, catered to their specific medical condition or disability.

Using a set of algorithms tailored to each user’s individual needs by bringing the information they need to the forefront, Imuneek is continually developing new tools to empower its users.

Imuneek is also 508 compliant, with all users, regardless of disability status, to access the networking site, including people with paraplegia.

Some of the unique features on the site would be high contrast images for color-blind users while also blocking flashing pages from those who suffer from seizures, as well as being the only place that has a user-generated “What To First Guide” to save people years of their life that would have been spent looking for information. Imuneek understands that a person’s uniqueness affects not only them but their family members as well.

For this reason, Imuneek also has the option for a person to sign up because they have a loved one affected by a medical condition or disability. A spouse or sibling of a person suffering from Alzheimer’s can speak to other spouses or siblings to ask the best way to keep their loved one active.

Lixon, more than most, understands how sensitive the topic of one’s disability can be. He understands that at times a person would want to turn to a doctor with their questions, and at other times, they’d want to ask a person in their shoes.

As a man who struggled with disabilities himself, he understands that a similar diagnosis doesn’t necessarily mean similar problems or perspectives, so through Imuneek, a person will, at the very least, know that they are not alone.

Visit: https://imuneek.com and http://acesmiami.org to connect with Lixon Nelson.

 

 

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