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July 14, 2012

I am in the process of designing an introduction to disability studies course.  It is a great way for me to learn at the same time.  While reading a related article this morning, I realized that I want people who hopefully take this course to have the epiphany.  I have had an epiphany and continue to have them because I have a lot of unlearning to do.  My epiphany is that people with impairments are part of normal human diversity. I am still struggling at trying to reconcile two somewhat conflicting beliefs.  It can be very challenging to live with impairments or differences yet I believe living with impairments or differences may be something worth celebrating.  I want to actually celebrate psychosis – not the fear that often propels and comes from psychosis but the amazing difference of it. I don’t want to dismiss the painful experience of depression but I want to celebrate the fragile beauty of a brain that is easily overwhelmed. I don’t want to say that it doesn’t suck to not be able to walk but I want to celebrate how communities can contribute exciting ideas about how to make it easier for people who can’t walk to get around. I want to celebrate the grace with which some people who can’t walk accept the gift of physical assistance of others. I don’t want to dismiss the frustration of people who have to work really hard to learn but I want to celebrate the gifts they give to the world by reminding us what is important. In fact, I don’t know all that there is to celebrate about having an IQ that is 2 standard deviations below the mean. I don’t know all there is to celebrate about mental illness. But I want to find out. I want to find out in a respectful, curious manner. I want to help this knowledge to enter the mainstream and enrich everyone’s life. I want full inclusion (including the opportunity to contribute) for all people.  What does inclusion look like to you?

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