|trouble (trouble) wrote,|
@ 2010-05-22 03:32 pm UTC
|Entry tags:||disability, disability: disabled people don't exist|
My university has a pre-orientation program that focuses on “leadership skills” ... A lot of it is just bonding with each other, but one thing that this particular pre-orientation program tries to do is talk about diversity;...
... I was able to provide a number of topics for discussion about student life with a disability, but one thing they’re looking for is an activity. They do various physical activities around, e.g., privilege ... and are looking for something similar to do that could lead into a discussion of disability. I tried to steer them away from doing the usual “blindfold half the kids” type simulations, but the only suggestion I’ve come up with is acting out the Spoon Theory article. That would maybe be a tangible thing – yay props – but isn’t quite as participatory as we’d like, though I think we’ll go with it if we don’t come up with something better.
Any suggestions on how to get people participating and talking about disability?
This is my response, which I think has the germ of a not-horrible idea, but is still problematic on so many levels. Your thoughts, either here or at FWD, would be appreciated!
ismith, I have a lot of thoughts about your question, although some of them are unkind (how do they know that none of the students participating have a disability? Have they decided they know what disability looks like, so no students with a disability are coming on this retreat? *sigh*).
But, an activity that may be useful if one is focusing on the "big three" "real" disabilities: Deaf, Blind, Uses a Wheelchair. And, of course, if one assumes that no one has any disabled family members of friends already.
Pull students into small groups and give the following introduction:
"You make a new friend at university! This new friend has many similar interests to you! You want to invite your new friend to your house / your apartment / your favourite coffee shop / whatever."
Each group gets one of the following scenarios. I'm sure people can think of more, and more appropriate ones. I'm just brainstorming.
1) Your friend is a full-time wheelchair user. Describe any difficulties they may have in getting into your chosen space, and how you and your friend might work together to eliminate these barriers.
2) Your friend is blind. How are you going to give directions to your chosen location when your friend can't drive? How comfortable or uncomfortable with giving directions that don't rely on "watch for the red house" or similar visual cues?
3) Your friend is Deaf and uses Sign Language. What student events have you attended that would include Sign Language-users? What student events have you attended that would not?
Afterwards bring students back together into the larger group. Discuss the answers. Ask them explicitly if they think the event they're at would be accessible to students with disabilities. Ask how they would work together as Student Leaders to ensure more accessible options for students.
Ask them as well what other sorts of barriers people with disabilities would face in attending university. As leaders of the exercise, I would explicitly talk about non-visible disabilities. I would also discuss barriers that students face when people have decided "what disability looks like," especially in a classroom setting.
This isn't a disability simulation, it's a thinking about disability simulation.