Kendall Susack, 14, is a freshman at Fenton High School who hopes to attend Michigan State University in the future and eventually become a veterinarian. Although the Times normally interviews juniors and seniors for “Our Future,” Kendall is inspirational for having overcome an invisible disability (see sidebar).
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
I am proud that I have been able to overcome my invisible disability and all the school I have missed and still been able to keep my grades in the A/B range. I am in 10th grade math and that was hard to get to as I missed 38 days my first semester of eighth grade.
Do you think it’s harder to be a teen today than it used to be?
I think that it is the same but for different reasons. Our generation has phones that can video anything, we can take pictures and post them on social media no matter if they are good or bad. Social media and texting has taken the one on one with others. My mom has us put our phones down at dinner so we can talk. My mom has always said, “Thank God phones and social media weren’t around when I was young.” I believe because of phones and social media teens have to live up to the “standards” that are put out there. And it can also alienate you from others if just one person posts something and others follow it.
If you were given $1,000 to donate what/who would you donate it to and why?
I would donate the money to the Invisible Disability Association. They are amazing they help make people aware that not all disabilities can be seen. This week is Invisible Disability Week and it helps to show you who may have one or what they are. Michigan has declared Oct. 13-19, 2019 as Invisible Disability Week.
What do you like to do for fun?
I love to spend time outside taking pictures or looking at all the different animals where I live. I love to rescue animals and get them well and if they go back to the wild, I release them. I love to do paintings — it’s calming and I am pretty decent at it. I love to play with my baby brother. We have a lot of fun running around outside teaching him how to write and listening to BTS (BTS is also known as the Bangtan Boys, a seven-member South Korean boy band).
Do you know what a rotary phone is?
I actually do! I was going through pictures with my mom and in the kitchen where she grew up and they had a red one. I laughed and asked her how do you use that and she told me, I asked how long did it take to dial? When we went on a school trip to the Henry Ford Museum they had one there and she made me dial her old phone number that took about a minute to get it done. I am glad we don’t have them but they are really cool and retro looking
What is the best thing about your family?
Everything! We are crazy, loud, fun and very close. We have the best relaxed holidays and several traditions that people think are weird, but we love them. I see my grandma at least once a week if not more. We love each other for who we are and we always try to lift each other up no matter what.
What is an invisible disability?
According to disabled-world.com, an invisible disability, or hidden disability, is an umbrella term that captures a whole spectrum of hidden disabilities or challenges that are primarily neurological in nature.
Invisible disability, or hidden disability, are defined as disabilities that are not immediately apparent. Some people with visual or auditory disabilities, who do not wear glasses or hearing aids, or discreet hearing aids, may not be obviously disabled. Some people who have vision loss may wear contacts. A sitting disability is another category of invisible impairments; sitting problems are usually caused by chronic back pain. Those with joint problems or chronic pain may not use mobility aids on some days, or at all. Although the disability creates a challenge for the person who has it, the reality of the disability can be difficult for others to recognize or acknowledge. Others may not understand the cause of the problem if they cannot see evidence of it in a visible way.