Friday, March 23, 2012

Disabilities, cultural sharing & solutions

In the workshop we started with a country profile before the actual workshop, so the participants could se their way of thinking of disabilities before and after. In the workshop the participants discussed in smaller groups: What is a disability in your culture?
  • Are everybody disabled?
  • Define disabilities, both physical & mental.
  • Is impairment your lack of ability to execute a task, or societies lack of adjustment so you can execute a task?
While discussing the questions many interesting perspectives came up. We showed them the universal symbol of disabilities to make them start thinking, and we heard thing like, "the blind guy", "the hand language", and "the symbol of stupidity". They compared their country profiles, and came up with a couple of very important points regarding treatment of the impaired. Firstly they saw that even though you are disabled, you can´t do anything about it, and you have to learn to live with it. Secondly, they saw that having a disability doesn´t make you completely useless, for example a person without legs can still program computers. Ultimately, they realized that there is discrimination against the people and there were a lot of talk about the definitions, and thus we showed them the definitions.

We gave them the opportunity to try writing down the definitions, with surprising result. The participants tended to write too specific definitions. We showed the World Health Organizations definitions so they could compare and see where they lacked. Generally, the participants saw that they needed to be broader. Ultimately, they wrote new definitions and came up with a very simple version, being abnormal.

We ended the workshop by looking at the question; is impairment your lack of ability to execute a task, or societies lack of adjustment so you can execute a task? The question was heavily discussed, and all the groups cam up with a general answer: directly it is your disability that is making you impaired, but since being abnormal is part of the definition, the society sets the standards, and then they also disable you. They also felt it was the society’s responsibility to also do certain adjustments since the disabled also are adjusting.

Fredrik & Bernadette - RCNUWC

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