What happens when a Human Resources manager (mom), a student teacher (middle sibling), and a grad student (eldest sibling) FaceTime for 5 minutes? Well, when it’s my family, we start theorizing about inclusion. What started as a spontaneous video call, turned into a deep conversation that challenged what we thought about inclusion, and called us to rethink how we have experienced inclusion of disability. This prompted us to hit the record button to capture our wonderings, and it also prompted us to pause our conversation to include the most important perspective: Sandy. In my family, my youngest sibling, Sandy, lives with Down Syndrome, and in this episode she generously shares her ideas, opinions, and memories of attending multiple high school proms. This episode left me with more questions about inclusion and belonging, and begs for a next step in including educators’ perspectives on the history of this particular example of inclusion. Just a reminder that there is a transcript of every episode available on Buzzsprout to assist in understanding what is discussed in each episode.
In this episode, we chat about one specific example of inclusion, which is a prom that is facilitated by the Life Skills Program that Sandy attended during high school. There are two different conversations that discuss the prom throughout the episode: a conversation between myself, Alison (my sibling), and my mom (the first half of the episode), and then a conversation between myself and Sandy (second half of the episode). Our intention here is not to actually critique the prom at all, because, as you find out, Sandy enjoys attending it. Instead, we are just capturing our fleeting perspectives about how the prom did or did not involve inclusion, and how it might end up looking different under various conditions. We don’t really have coherent opinions here, and its more of a wandering conversation with some wonderings musings, realizations questions about part of some of our experiences as a family as it pertains to inclusion, since our family has engaged with multiple institutions and programs that have had varying degrees of inclusion. We gravitated to this example of inclusion, the prom, because there is an analogy about how inclusion is being invited to the dance, but belonging is being asked to dance ( which I need to track down and cite, forgive me). So, by sharing my family’s perspectives on this dance, we hope it contributes to larger conversations about inclusion, accessibility, equity, voice, choice, and belonging.
We also invite feedback, additional perspectives, and other stories from lived experiences with various versions of events or programs for the purposes of accessibility and inclusion to be shared, and I would be delighted to engage in a follow up conversation with anyone who feels called to discuss this topic with me.