Scadding Court Community Centre
  • Phone :

    416.392.0335

  • Address :

    707 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M5T 2W6

  • Email :

    scccinfo@scaddingcourt.org

ABLEISM

VIDEOS

Our Stories: Kaila

Our Stories: Chantal

Our Stories: Shakiya

Our Stories: Beverly

KNOWLEDGE BUILDER

Ableism is embedded into our everyday language, attitudes, and belief systems. Ableism exists to oppress folks that are diversely-abled. Something we may find difficult to cut out of our language are words and phrases such as, “That’s dumb!” or “You’re crazy!” These are some of the ways in which able-bodied people are conditioned to perpetuate ableism unconsciously because these specific phrases are deemed as socially acceptable. These lessons explore the ways in which ableism has been internalized and how we can understand and celebrate differently-abled folks and their access needs in our communities.

SYSTEMS AT PLAY

  • Ableism is discrimination fuelled by the perception that diversely abled folks are ‘less-than’ or lack value, and ultimately, humanity.
  • Ableism is a cultural disorder that affects people’s communication skills, interpersonal behaviours and the ways in which this trickles into institutions, culture, and interpersonal relationships.
  • As you’re reading this, you are participating in able-bodied privilege. We are currently perpetuating ableism by not having a different form of accessing this information. In order to read the text on this page you must be able to physically and intellectually read and understand the words off this text.

BARRIERS & ACCESS

Obvious barriers are mainly physical:

  • Stairs, inaccessible doorway entries, lack of ramps, the size of sidewalks/hallways
  • The layout of rooms and public spaces, small bathrooms
  • High chairs and poor lighting

Less obvious barriers:

  • Electronic documents without alternative text, small print, read-only materials
  • A program or job that requires a full course load or 40 hours per week
  • Make accommodations for differently abled folks as a “special favour”
  • A lack of understanding or awareness around invisible disabilities (i.e. chronic illnesses, learning disabilities, mental illnesses)

Some things able-bodied people have access to that we don’t think about often enough:

  • The freedom to leave our homes (bad weather or not, we always have choice)
  • The ability to live in our homes (as opposed to health care facilities and hospitals)
  • The freedom to stay alive without the need of a caregiver/tool/ventilator
  • The capacity to work, remain employed long-term, and have financial opportunities
  • Living our lives without experiencing pain on a daily and prolonged basis
  • We are represented on all forms of media, newspapers, broadcasts of all types

LANGUAGE & TIPS

  • Do not assume that people with disabilities do not hold autonomy
  • Do not assume that disabilities are always visible
  • Do not expect diversely-abled folks to educate or convince you of their disability
  • Ableist language has been naturalized in the English language, be mindful of this
  • Acknowledge the seven types of learners: Visual, Aural, Verbal, Physical, Logical, Social, Solitary

RESOURCES

Understanding Barriers to Accessibility (University of Ottawa)
What is Ableism? (whatisableism.tumblr.com)
6 Common Forms of Ableism We Need to Eliminate Immediately (Everyday Feminism)
Overview of Learning Styles (Learning Styles Online)

LESSON ONE: KAILA (EXPERIENCING DYSLEXIA)

Approx. 30-45 minutes

OBJECTIVE

Experience what it would be like to be in a classroom as someone with Dyslexia.

THEMES

Ableism, Dyslexia, Learning Disabilities.

PREPARATION- Load Kaila’s Our Stories Video;
- Make equal copies of each passage worksheet.
5 mins
REVIEW- Check-in with your participants;
- Review your foundations;
- Encourage participants to take notes;
- Emotionally prepare your participants.
5-10 mins
VIEWING- Watch Kaila’s video as a group;
- Remember your "During Each Lesson" tips.
2-5 mins
ACTIVITY- Give half of the participants the regular-text passage worksheet and half the coded-text passage worksheet;
- Instruct them to read the passage and answer the questions. Do not allow any conversation to happen between participants;
- If participants have questions about the text, answer in a patronizing way. Examples:
• "Try harder."
• "Read it again. The answers are there."
• "You should know this."
- Stop all participants after 5 minutes;
- Ask participants to answer the comprehension questions. Try to ask half who have regular-texts and half who have coded-text.
5-10 mins
DISCUSSION- For those of you who had a coded-text passage, how did this experience feel?
- For those of you who had a regular-text passage, how did you interpret others' behaviour?
- This experience is real for folks like Kaila. Why is it important to have many ways of reading, writing and understanding material at school and work?
5-10 mins
DEBRIEF- Refer to "After Each Lesson" for specifics.5 mins

Read the passage and answer the following questions.

The other day, I went to the mall with my mom. We went to the larger mall in the neighbouring town instead of the mall in our town because there are more options there. I needed to buy new winter boots. I wanted boots with laces but my mom told me that wouldn’t make any sense because the snow would get in and make my feet wet. She told me to get boots with a side zipper instead.

The first store we went into had a burgundy pair of boots that I really liked but they didn’t have my size. The second store we went into had a navy pair of boots
with laces. They had my size but my mom didn’t like them. I tried them on anyway and they fit really well. My mom encouraged me to put them on hold while we
looked at other stores. We went to three other stores, but I didn’t see anything else I liked as much as the navy ones. So, we went back to get them. We were five minutes later than the one hour hold period and they sold off all the pairs in my size. Needless to say, my mom and I had a silent car ride back home.

1. Where was the narrator going with their mom?
2. What were they going to buy?
3. Why did their mom think boots with laces weren’t a good idea?
4. What colour was the first pair of boots?
5. What colour was the pair of boots the narrator really liked?
6. Did the narrator talk to their mom on the way back home?

Read the passage and answer the following questions.

1. Where was the narrator going with their mom?
2. What were they going to buy?
3. Why did their mom think boots with laces weren’t a good idea?
4. What colour was the first pair of boots?
5. What colour was the pair of boots the narrator really liked?
6. Did the narrator talk to their mom on the way back home?

LESSON TWO: CHANTAL (COMIC STORIES)

Approx. 45-65 minutes

OBJECTIVE

Engage with the first-hand story of a person with a diversely-abled learning experience and create an alternative approach to presenting knowledge in academic settings.

THEMES

Ableism, Learning Disabilities, Bullying.

PREPARATION- Load Chantal’s Our Stories Video;
- Make copies of the comic strip template;
- Make copies and cut out the comic story prompts;
- Prepare writing and drawing material.
5 mins
REVIEW- Check-in with your participants;
- Review your foundations;
- Encourage participants to take notes;
- Emotionally prepare your participants.
5-10 mins
VIEWING- Watch Chantal’s video as a group;
- Remember your "During Each Lesson" tips.
4-8 mins
DISCUSSION- Did you identify any Systems, Barriers and Access in Chantal's story?
- What are barriers that you can think of that aren't strictly physical?
- Can you think about why folks refer to differently-abled folks as 'disabled' or 'special'?
• Where do you think we’ve learned these ideas?
• Have you ever described yourself as "able-bodied" before describing yourself as "YOU"?
- Can you name different types of learning abilities?
- What are the ways that you learn best?
10-15 mins
ACTIVITY- Divide participants into pairs;
- Provide each pair with copies of the comic strip template. Leave extra copies accessible if they need more;
- Provide each pair with a comic story prompt. It's okay if some pairs have the same story;
- Ask pairs to tell the story using the comic template without using words. They can be as detailed or as simple as they see fit;
- Ask the pairs to switch their completed comic with another pair;
- Ask the pairs to explain their interpretations of the stories depicted in the comic to the pair that they switched with;
- Allow pairs to discuss among themselves.
15-20 mins
DEBRIEF- Refer to "After Each Lesson" for specifics.5 mins

COMIC STORY PROMPTS

  • The monkey in the cage escaped to get the banana sitting on the table by the window.
  • The teenager went to the salon. They dyed their blonde hair pink and got their hair cut shorter.
  • Jenny was learning how to add in school. She got an A+ on her test last week. She was proud of herself.
  • Christopher went for a run. He was very sweaty and thirsty when he came back home. His faucet broke as he went to pour himself a glass.
  • The short woman went shopping for trousers. She tried on 3 pairs. They were all too long. She bought shorts instead.
  • The young child went to the park with their father. They had a lot of fun on the slide.
  • One morning, a dog dug up a bone in the backyard. That afternoon, the dog buried it in another spot.
  • The teacher spilled their coffee all over their students’ work. They felt really bad. They threw their students a party to make-up for it.
  • Taneisha couldn’t fall asleep. She wondered why. Maybe it was her Restless Leg Syndrome. Maybe it was the 4 cups of coffee she had that day.
  • Darryl needed to buy a new tie for his new suit. He went looking for a black tie. He bought a green and blue striped tie instead.

LESSON THREE: SHAKIYA & BEVERLY (MASK ACTIVITY)

Approx. 55-75 minutes

OBJECTIVE

Create a mask that represents the complexities of identity.

THEMES

Bullying, Prejudices, Mental Illness, Identity.

PREPARATION- Load Shakiya’s Our Stories Video;
- Load Beverly’s Our Stories Video;
- Make double-sided copies of the mask template;
- Provide art supplies (markers, crayons, paint).
5 mins
REVIEW- Check-in with your participants;
- Review your foundations;
- Encourage participants to take notes;
- Emotionally prepare your participants.
5-10 mins
VIEWING- Watch Shakiya and Beverly’s video as a group;
- Remember your "During Each Lesson" tips.
10-15 mins
DISCUSSION- Did you identify any Systems, Barriers and Access in Shakiya and Beverly's stories?
- Shakiya uses masks to illustrate a message in their story. What is the message?
- Beverly related her journey with Mental Illness to "wearing a mask". What did she mean by this?
- Are there ways you wear masks in your life?
10 mins
ACTIVITY- Give each participant a mask template;
- Instruct participants to design their masks using words and/or symbols to represent the many sides of themselves. The front of the mask should represent how they present themselves to the world. The back of the mask should represent how they are with themselves and/or their closest family members and friends;
- Once everyone's mask is completed, open the floor to those who are willing to explain their masks to the larger group. You may want to consider making one of your own to start the sharing process.
20-30 mins
DEBRIEF- Refer to "After Each Lesson" for specifics.5 mins

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