Documentation of Weekly Learning Part 1: Themes from your experiences in the

Documentation of Weekly Learning
Part 1: Themes from your experiences in the Module for this week.
Use the table below (expand it as necessary) to record notes on the major ideas and insights you find valuable in each of your Encounters, Explorations, and Interact Discussion experiences this week.
Experiences (what you read, watched, did)
Concept/Idea/Insight
Related Example/Quote/Image
Encounters
1) Vital Signs Crip Culture Talks Back II
It really stood out to me how all the people and artists in the view took their experiences with being looked down upon or discriminated against and reclaimed it for themselves in the form of art or artistic expression
The lab coat with uncomfortable and insensitive questions asked by others written over it, using experiences with inaccessible public facilities as material for comedy, etc.
2) Vital Signs Crip Culture Talks Back
There can be a very narrow and one dimension perception of what disability is, or what people with disability can/ should look like. Although there been progress made since the making of this series, many of the concepts and ideas still hold true. People with seemingly “hidden” disabilities are often overlooked or not taken seriously.
In the beginning of the video, it was mentioned that the beginning of the disability movement was very much embodied by the wheelchair symbol. This is a very narrow and physical interpretation of disability because of course, not all disabilities are physical and many who are physically disabled do not actually even use a wheelchair.
3) )”what is disability?” Interview- Heather Evans
The disability of a person is created when that person interacts with others, systems, and ideas that are already in place. This shifts the weight and responsibility is shifted more to the institution and society at large rather to the individual and assigning moral value to the physical function of the body/mind
Evans says: “Disability is not an attribute nor is it inherent to an individual’s body or mind; the disability rests in the interaction. Between individuals, or between individuals and institutions.”
4)”What is disability?” Interiview- Carlyn Mueller
There is a fine line and precarious balance between how to go about or the amount of specialized education for those with disabilities compared to immersion them in standard classrooms with the rest of the student population, and it’s important to keep in mind that many if not most of the people who make decisions to support or create these kinds of systems/ structures do not experience disability firsthand.
Mueller described this as perhaps “one of the only issues” that she takes a moderate stance on. She says that she sees and understands how people with disability antagonizes special education to a certain extent in that they were separates and closed off from other peers, but at the same time recognizes the benefits to such programs, as she wouldn’t be able to have made it to her PhD programs dealing with high level statistics had it not been the special ed class that taught her basic math in the first place.
Explorations
1) Disabilities Webinar
People often say things that implies “normalcy” or being able bodied as compliments to those with disabilities, and regardless of their intention, is harmful and confusing especially to young children who are in the process of forming their disability identity.
Two of the panelists mentioned having teachers in grade school who said things like “I just don’t understand why you’re here” (referring to special ed classroom), or complimented them on performing like an “normal person”
2) Falling Into Place-Self Portraits by Patricia Lay Dorsey
What stood out to me was that although her shots are self-portraits, it captured a lot more of her surroundings and interactions with those surroundings than I anticipated. After reading her excerpt, I was able to understand more of the reason behind why. It resonated with me that she spoke of her “otherness” stemming from multiple sclerosis as interesting rather than shameful, and I think her not shying away for portraying raw emotions and interactions as well as body and flesh in the photos conveyed that very well.
Interact Discussion
Many of the members in my group, myself included, are not well educated, or versed even in the simple context of explaining what disability is. It is such a multifaceted topic with a plethora of definitions, and a common theme across our responses and replies is that the course material helped us broaden our base line understanding.
Excerpt taken from one of my group member’s response that many of us agreed with:  “I think that the readings and videos in this module really opened my eyes to the many contexts that hold a definition of disability, and also helped me understand more respectful ways to talk about it.”
Evaluation: One or more notes are included related to each of the week’s Encounter, Exploration, and Interact experiences. (10pt)
Part 2: Connections: Now, looking across the notes you made, comment in a short paragraph (more if you like) on the connections you see across your experiences in this module. How about disconnections/paradoxes? And, most important, what to these mean to you in your own life?
A common theme I see is the inaccuracy and limitations of the mainstream definition of disability held by able bodied people. Many know of the medical or political definitions, combined with their own interpretation or expectations of what disability is and run with it without taking the time to listen to the voices of those who have a disability. This creates a “outside looking in” perspective as put into words by Dorsey, which is why people with disabilities find such relief and almost refuge in their own circles and communities, as pointed out by Evans. This also ties in to the sometimes conflicting medical and social model as described by Mueller, which is a new perspective I have never heard of before. As an able-bodied person, this module made me realize how little I know or have learned about disabled communities, and how far there is to go. The different videos and parts of self-guided tours really helped me learn from firsthand perspectives of people that live with disabilities rather than reading from a textbook and showed me just how nuanced and complex disability rights and justice issues are, as well as the wide range and degree of how an individual can be affected. Carrying on forward, I hope to clear my vocabulary of any insensitive terms used that perpetuates the able body “normalcy” system as well as listen and amplify the voices of those that live and speak on the subject whenever I have the opportunity.

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