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