About Grant Watkins
Grant Watkins is a friend, brother, social service professional, advocate for individuals with hidden disabilities, a writer, a survivor of physical, sexual and emotional abuse, and an inspirational speaker who lives successfully with multiple silent disabilities. Not surprisingly, Grant is also an expert on the importance of developing a resilient spirit and empathy for others living with silent disabilities who may be isolated, ignored or discriminated against.
Grant was born in 1965 in El Paso, Texas. Trauma, in many forms, has been a consistent thread woven throughout his history. Throughout his childhood, Grant was the victim of ongoing emotional, verbal and physical abuse. He also struggled with severe dyslexia and attention deficit disorder, although these were not officially diagnosed until he was an adult and had the opportunity to learn specific strategies for accessing and processing information more effectively.
As a young adult, Grant became one of his father’s primary caretakers during his father’s protracted illness. This early experience as a caregiver set the stage for his career in social services and instilled a deep respect for the spirituality that is inherent in caring for others, as well as being cared for by another. Soon after his father’s death, Grant was sexually assaulted and physically abused. He later returned to El Paso to confront his attacker as part of his efforts to overcome the long-term impacts of this abuse.
Despite the challenges presented by these traumatic events and a range of invisible disabilities, including depression, Grant completed a bachelor’s degree in communications. He moved to Minnesota in 1996 where he has built a successful social services career, focusing primarily on the needs of the elderly and people with visible and invisible disabilities. He also has authored several books and is a nationally recognized speaker and presenter on caregiving issues. Unfortunately, he also encountered employment discrimination, an experience shared by many people with hidden disabilities. In 2013, Grant suffered a brain aneurysm that resulted in permanent single-sided deafness, severe tinnitus and dizziness. He has met this latest challenge with the same resolve and resilience that carried him through earlier life challenges.
Grant lives in St. Paul, Minnesota with his partner, Matt Halley. Grant is manager of volunteer activities for a major provider of social services to the elderly.