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DISABILITY-RESEARCH  April 2000

DISABILITY-RESEARCH April 2000

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Subject:

RE: disability and impairment

From:

Phil Smith <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Phil Smith <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 24 Apr 2000 07:50:55 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (28 lines)

Ria wrote a story from her life:
" I went to a day-long singing workshop. It was to end in a performance,
which I badly wanted to be involved in. Instead, tho, I started having
seizures, and spent several hours in hospital.

My inability to sing in that performance was *entirely* because of my
impairment, as far as I can see. There is just no way it could have
been accommodated, nothing that would have made it possible for me to
perform on that day."
I'm pushing it here, probably, but I can see multiple accommodations. What
if the performance happened at the hospital? What if the performance was
rescheduled to another day? What if seizing was understood as a kind of
singing? 
The principle accommodation from my perspective is something like unless all
participants can participate in the performance, then the performance
doesn't reflect everyone. How can we design a performance so that everyone
can participate, regardless of "impairment"? In my own work, the question
often asked of me is, how can someone who doesn't speak determine for
themselves what their life should be? Since we can't know, they say, they
can't be self-determining. I reject this idea, seeing it as a
misunderstanding about the self in self-determination. It's never just self,
it's always also a circle of support.
But maybe I digress.
Phil Smith
Vermont Self-Determination Project 


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