Today’s (yesterday’s) session was really great! We opened the night with some mouth-watering chili and cornbread, and we all chowed down while we did a check in. Linda chose the question tonight—“If you were a book, what book would you be?” There was definitely a lot of confusion as to what exactly that meant, but we left it open to interpretation. Answers ranged from the Hunger Games to the Graceling series to a coloring book. Quite amazing.
When we were mostly done laughing and eating, Jude introduced our guest for the night, Monica. We started the conversation about “disabilities” by brainstorming terms and words and ideas that we think of when we hear “disability.” I think most of us were really surprised to learn just how diverse the word “disability” really is.
After that, we talked about language. We came up with several words we use in our daily lives that have very different meanings then we think. For example, crazy. That’s probably one of the most used words in any teenagers vocabulary. However, we learned that it can have a pretty powerful effect on some people, since “crazy” used to scientifically diagnose someone, and lock them behind bars. I know—that’s crazy! (Just kidding. That’s bad. Try “wild” or “bananas.”)
We then learned how to correctly name a disability. Instead of midget, use little person. Instead of stupid, say “They have a learning disability.” That was really eye-opening for a lot of people, since most of us hadn’t really thought of it that way before. We thought it was really wild (Do you see? What I did there?) how simple words can be really offensive to some people. I think we all left the room with personal goals to no longer use offensive terms.
We also learned about the different models for disabilities. There’s the medical model, which, while true, can be really degrading and can cause a lot of un-confidence in disabled people. We looked at a more accurate model—The social model—devised by a group of disabled people. They felt it was more considerate and exact.
After that long and deep conversation, we checked out upstairs. We each said one thing we learned today. It was really cool to see how the evening resonated with each individual person.
After our check out, we divided into our separate groups, and after 45 minutes, we shared out. Some exciting things are in AGE UP’s future! You can be sure to look forward to developments in the blog and the website, as well as a unique 3-day retreat, some delectable specialty food, and some creative fundraisers (auction dinner/graffiti art). AGE UP, our future is bright!
Good day and good night,