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‘Normal’ is a setting on the dryer: Reframing how we view people with disabilities Shirley Paceley, M.A. Blue Tower Training.

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Presentation on theme: "‘Normal’ is a setting on the dryer: Reframing how we view people with disabilities Shirley Paceley, M.A. Blue Tower Training."— Presentation transcript:

1 ‘Normal’ is a setting on the dryer: Reframing how we view people with disabilities Shirley Paceley, M.A. Blue Tower Training

2 Lessons From Our Greatest Teachers In the beginning… rampant abuse and neglect

3 Mommy is not feeling well…..

4 I want to go to church….

5 My friend died…..

6 Anna teaches us about freedom and equality

7 A 20 minute lesson that changed my life Great sense of humor Radical *Insightful Spoke with her right foot Lived in institution, nursing home and group home One of my greatest teachers 2011 microphone

8 What is a Disability? The World Health Organization definition of disability states that a disability is not something that a person “has” but it occurs when the person, their functional limitation, and the environment interact.

9 “It’s All of Us” Differences in ability is ordinary, not special, and something most of us will experience at sometime.

10 Attitudes are the biggest disability “My disability is no big deal---how people treat me is a very big deal”


12 Models for viewing people with disabilities Moral View Medical View Civil Rights View

13 The Moral View of People with Disabilities False idea that people with disabilities are morally different from others. Pre-judged to be either especially good or especially bad “Special” angels, innocent and worthy of charity OR Frightening, evil and worthy of ridicule

14 The Medical View of People with Disabilities False belief that people with disabilities are broken and need to be fixed by experts Stereotyped as a medical condition in the body Labeled as sick, as patients, as clients Harmful attitude—experts know best and make decisions for the person

15 The Civil Rights View of People with Disabilities Powerful idea that people with disabilities are regular people with the same civil rights as all citizens People with disabilities are a minority group Society has the problem and needs fixed to provide equal rights to all. Self-advocates work together to demand and reclaim civil rights

16 The separation continues Separated in the school picture Mom picked her son up after school The Gynecological Exam—refused or denied access? Sexual Assaults pandemic---’Post-rape behavior”—WHAT? Let’s talk about the “R” word (the ARE word)

17 The Self-Advocacy Movement

18 Self-Advocacy: A Timeless Idea People have been practicing self- advocacy—fighting for their rights and speaking up for what they want and need—since the beginning of time, but only in the late 20 th century did they begin to organize and rally within official groups.

19 Ed Roberts and the Independent Living Movement Would not let him graduate from High School because he didn’t pass PE or Driver’s Ed.

20 Ed Roberts Famous Quote "You should hope he dies, because if he lives, he'll be no more than a vegetable.” So I decided to be an artichoke...a little prickly on the outside but with a big heart. You know, the vegetables of the world are uniting, and we're not going away!

21 The Self-Advocacy Movement

22 We are…People first. NOTHING ABOUT US WITHOUT US!!!

23 “My body makes me disabled; society makes me handicapped.” --Anonymous

24 Clasp your hands

25 People First Language - Put people first - Do not focus on disability - Do not portray successful people with disabilities as superhuman - Person has—not is. - Do not use general labels

26 Disability Competence: One Model I need to be competent and knowledgeable about all types of disabilities, various accommodations and legal definitions before I can work with people with disabilities.

27 Disability Humility: A New Model “When I meet someone with a disability, I will be open, creative, respectful, and ready to learn. I will treat everyone with a disability as a unique person.”

28 Let’s talk about power Power Over Power With Power Inside

29 “She can’t do that” Be careful in making assumptions The power of dreams Never deprive someone of hope; it might be all they have. -H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

30 Working with families Congratulations it’s a …. The Power of “I don’t know” Focus on the abilities Remember who the expert is Support systems

31 What do you see when you look at me? Someone who is ‘special’ ? “non-verbal”? Someone who is asexual? Someone who is doing the very best they can? Someone who has been hurt? Someone who has abilities and dreams?

32 Continuum of actions and attitudes Paternalism …………................. Empowerment Where are you?


34 What is Normal?

35 Normal?

36 Or maybe this….

37 Practical change, right now The words we use The “are” word Burst the bubble of implied agreement Focus on abilities People are people are people Only ask what you need to know What is your intent? Take steps to increase your comfort

38 Practical Change, now and later Be honest with self and others Intersections (violence, culture, LGBT…) Respecting individuals Changing systems Always remember who the expert is Do what you can to stop oppression and segregation

39 Listen with our How do we do it?


41 Inclusion Matters “To include me is to empower me To exclude me is to devour me…” From a poem by Cathy L. Saunders

42 I think we have to own the fears that we have of each other, and then, in some practical way, some daily way, figure out how to see people differently than the way we were brought up to.” Alice Walker

43 Inclusion “As the walls of segregation, both real and imagined begin to fall, we all have an opportunity to see a little more clearly, laugh a little more deeply, and grow a little more fully into our humanity.” Ideal School, Manhattan, NY

44 Cruelty has an institutional structure that sustains, teaches, and may even glorify it. But where are the institutions – the organizations – that sustain and teach tenderness?” Henry, 1965

45 Thank you for all that you do

46 Blue Tower Training (BTT) is a division of Macon Resources, Inc. (MRI) which provides training, consultation, training materials and resources on a national as well as international basis. Shirley Paceley 217-875-8890 Learn more about BTT by logging on to

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