I am really passionate about rights for people with disabilities, and also thought that I need to start extending this blog a bit and sharing more. I also want to acknowledge a blog I enjoy reading, and is the instigator of Blogging Against Disabalism Day - Diary of a Goldfish.
I work for an organisation called DADAA, and work with people with disabilities (and without) in the arts. At the moment I am working on inclusive youth community arts projects. I am constantly challenged, inspired, amazed, by the people I work with. Young people in disabilities, in particular, are not often given the opportunity to have a voice and be active citizens - I hope my work, in some small way will affect social change in this area. I encourage others to become advocates for people with disabilities too! I am passionate in utilising the arts for social change.
I also have a number of friends and family who have disabilities (and mental ill health), who are also passionate and inspiring people. I also have personal experience being 'disabled' by a chronic illness for many years, and I have experience mental illness. Every person has a different understanding, and personal identification of their abilities, but I think my experience has led to my ability to be compassionate, and a proud advocate for people with disabilities.
I could go on for pages, but wanted to share one aspect of 'disabalism' that I really care about. That is the language used around disabalism - I promote person first language all the time (for many reasons), and think that it is really important to address people as people, then mention their disability (if necesssary). Ie - a PERSON with a disability, a PERSON in a wheelchair, etc. I am also regularly appalled by the use of words used for disability to put others down (eg 'you retard', 'what a spastic'), and try to pull others up on this when I hear it. This use of language is truly offensive to people with disabilities - and to me. In any situation, using a word that describes a part of persons identity in a derogatory way is just not on. This is really common with the use of the phrase 'that's so gay'. NOT COOL.
That is a bit of a full on way to end my blog today, but I hope I encourage you to blog against disabalism today, and to think about people in the language you use.
Enjoy your day! :)
Over and out,