One’s experience of inclusion will more than likely vary from one person to the next. For people with a disability, these experiences can sometimes be positive, while others often have less fortunate experiences …
As a person with autism, I have a lot of social anxiety, to the point that I have often been excluded from social events or gatherings because of a lack of inclusion rather than deliberate exclusion. That is to say, I have never found that people have gone out of their way to keep me out of social activities – and perhaps that goes for my entire life, not just my time in college – but since I’m mostly reticent to socialise in the first place (in order to keep my anxiety to a minimum), I often find myself being excluded from various events that I would actually be interested in attending, as a result of this. At society meetups say, where there are a lot of people within a certain space and the atmosphere can often be quite intense and noisy, this is most certainly the case. Over time, I’ve actually found that a lot of people on the Autism Spectrum can relate to this, and simply find social gatherings on all levels – whether it be big crowds or even a get-together with a couple of friends – an overwhelming experience.
As Inclusive Content Producer of the Ability Co-op, I’m definitely looking to make such social situations in college more inclusive, and perhaps even to an extent, more autism-friendly. People with autism can actually be quite sociable once they’ve found themselves and are comfortable with the social situation, and this is the kind of thing I would potentially like to hone in on come the new academic year in Trinity College.
– Ben Rowsome, Ability co_op’s Inclusive Content Producer
Anaphylaxis and Asthma are serious conditions, but I have had a smoother experience than most when it comes to inclusion. Although I take them with me everywhere, I go. Most of the time, they don’t become an issue. Avoiding risk is second nature, and I barely have to think about it.
I have felt excluded many times in my life, however. I am allergic to nuts and eggs, and there have been times when someone has started eating nuts a few rows in front of me in a lecture hall. They were made aware of the severity of my allergies more than once. Similar things happened in school, which made me feel that people valued their food more than my presence in that space. To simply stay safe, I had to exclude myself from those situations.
Food is often about the social interactions you have while eating it, as much as the meal itself. For me, inclusion is when my friends and those around me ask me what restaurant I can eat in, or what food I can’t be around without making a big thing out of it. It’s about my needs being considered as much as anyone else’s, and it is a positive thing rather than a sacrifice.
– Rachel Murphy, Ability co_op PRO