As students with disabilities, we have all had different experiences of inclusion, and it has not always been positive, and often it has been disheartening.
As a person who is profoundly deaf, I am left out of events that do not have subtitles, or when an ice breaker involves listening carefully for your name being called, and feeling silly when people stare, expecting you to at least be able to hear your own name. These incidents can affect me as I would overthink them for the rest of the day, believing that people must think I am rude or uninterested in what they have to say, but I simply just did not hear them. These may seem like small problems, and I do acknowledge that some people have had it a lot worse, but that is my story, and that is what not being included looks like to me.
As more members have joined the Ability Co-op, more stories are being shared about their experiences as a person with a disability, and all of them provide their unique perspective on what inclusion means to them. We hope that the content we produce can provide an insight into our lives, and to see the world by standing in our shoes. When planning your next event or even a webinar, question how inclusive it is. It is okay to make mistakes; in the beginning, all progress towards inclusive practice moves inclusion in the right direction.
Courtney McGrath, Founder of Ability co_op