(trascript follows below)
A few days ago I wrote a post about being part of a school project about bullying and teasing of people with intellectual disabilities. I've seen the final product and wanted to share this with you all, especiall since several of you asked about seeing it. Something I didn't write about was that I had forgotten about the taping and arrived at work in one of my 'work' shirts not one of my dazzling 'media star' shirts. Ooops. So you'll now see just how casual I am at work.
I showed this to Joe and his comment struck me as very funny. He said, "When I was thirteen I was doing collages!" We both laughed about how we would take a picture of a rich person and a picture of a poor person and glue it to bristol board and think we'd made some huge statement. Back then 13 was very different than is 13 now. Anyways, I think these kids did a great job and I thank them for letting me send you to see their work.
[Ann LeBlanc, Support Services Workers, Rights Group Facilitator, and Facilitator Team Advisor]
What is Vita? And what is Vita’s goal?
So Vita is an organisation - a pretty large one at this point I think it’s fair to say - that supports people with developmental disabilities. Um...so we –-- adults mostly, but we’re working a little bit more with youth, so people over the age of fifteen.
Um, so what’s our goal at Vita? Our goal is to be sure that people with developmental disabilities have safe happy lives, right, so that they’re learning more about, um, taking care of themselves, that they have self-determination, that they have joy, that they’re - you know, getting education and supports as they need them.
[Domenic Pisante, Program Supervisor Self Esteem Trainer]
How do you feel about [how] people with developmental disabilities are being treated in society?
I think it’s getting better. But I think there’s still a long way to go. If we look at the news or read a newspaper or the internet, y’know, we always seem to see these articles or these uh, statements from parents or people with disabilities about how – what their experiences are in the community, schools, high schools, working, and we see a lot of negative experiences. I think we’ve come a long way in closing institutions, uh, in the last few years, and, uh - at least our agency and I know the sector in Ontario is doing a lot to give people better opportunities, uh, and support people with intellectual disabilities better, um, than in the past. So I think we’re getting better but there’s still a really long way to go.
And what are institutions?
Institutions were, uh, open until 2009 in Ontario. Basically they were really uh, hospitals, more like a jail, uh, for people with intellectual disabilities.
What can we do to help stop discrimination against people with developmental disabilities?
I think what you’re doing here with this video and where it’s gonna go and who’s gonna see it, is gonna make a big – it can make a big difference towards improving discrimination, because when people are educated -- uh, and not just people that don’t have a visible disability, but people with developmental disabilities too or their parents or their teachers -- when you’re educating everybody then it raises awareness.
[Ryan Zanette, Member]
How long have you been at Vita?
Uh, four years.
[Cut to Andrew Kestenbaum, Member]
About four years.
Do you find that you’re treated differently if you’re applying for a job?
Yes. Because they’re trying to see me as...like, um, like, they’re , they’re not...they’re seeing me as, like, a disability person first. They’re not seeing me as like, a, like, that I can do the job. They’re see-- Whether I can do the job first, or whether I can’t. And they shouldn’t -- uh, ...they should, uh...think about that first and then..uh...think about my disability.
[Ryan Zanette, Member]
So have you ever been bullied or teased for having a developmental disability. If so, can you please describe the experience?
Well, I have. Bullied at school, um, at -- uh, four people gang up, and they had a gang on me, like four people...um...kicked , uh, kicked in the nose, and one year I was at school, I was outside...I guess, I had
to...well, it got so bad I had to stay inside the, um school.
[Dave Hingsburger, Director of Clinical and Educational Services]
Why is it not taken seriously?
Well I don’t think it’s taken seriously because people don’t recognise people with intellectual disabilities as a legitimate minority. I mean, if I asked you what do these words mean: ‘sexism, racism, and homophobia’, you have no difficulty in knowing what they are: they’re basically commonly used terms within our society, but what’s the term for prejudice against people with disabilities? And I’m willing to bet that you guys don’t know, have never heard it, have never used it, and have certainly never seen it on an advertisement.
So people with intellectual disabilities just aren’t considered an important minority, and important enough to even have a word that describes prejudice against them.
Well there IS a word, um, and there’s a couple of different words, “ableism” probably being the most common of those words, and “ableist attitudes” and so forth. But because people with intellectual disabilities haven’t been -- become a valued minority in such that the voices of people from that minority are considered important, people simply don’t listen to them.
Um, for example if, if we had a kid with an intellectual disability come to a teacher and say that they’re being called a name they’re most likely to be told to just ignore it and it’s no big deal and so forth. BUT if a kid of colour came to a teacher to say that they were experiencing racist taunts and racist bullying, you can bet there would be response because it’s taken seriously. And I would bet that if a gay kid came forward and said they were experiencing homophobic violence on the schoolyard people would take that quite seriously, um because people have learned that those are voices that they need to hear.
But people with intellectual disabilities - people don’t even know that there’s prejudice against them. People tend to think that, that people with disabilities are – are recipients of society’s generosity, which is probably one of the reasons why they get so much bulling and teasing, because they’re just not seen as worth the same as other people.
THANKS TO SHANNON FOR THE TRANSCRIPT
THANKS TO SHANNON FOR THE TRANSCRIPT