We did it! Diverse Disabilities Represented in the Dialogue Online

This month we presented two Online Dialogue workshops for Henry Street Settlement, a neighborhood and social center on the Lower East Side in New York.

A screenshot of the facilitators and moderators of the Dialoge Online workshop, showing Brendan, Estelle, Matthias, Lynn and LAura.

The objective was to take advantage of the framework of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December, 3rd to start the process of inclusion of persons with disabilities in this organization.

To this end, we prepared a workshop based, as is our methodology, on direct encounters with people with disabilities. But what could be more enriching for everyone than including diverse disabilities?

In addition to having inclusionists with visual impairment, this time we had Matthias Busma who lives on the autistic spectrum, and Laura Mench who lives with muscular dystrophy.

It's not easy to let go of the organizational past. For more than 30 years we have focused on visual impairment; on the one hand, because Dialogue in the Dark has been our bestseller, and on the other hand, because it has been our area of expertise.

At some point we came to wonder if darkness as a learning tool and visual impairment as a messenger had become our organization's comfort zone. Perhaps; for a few years both gave us stability.

However, the important thing is that the comfort zone does not become a stagnation zone. And the pandemic was the trigger that helped us transform.

One of our goals with the creation of Dialogue Online has been to be able to include facilitators with a greater diversity of disabilities, and today, right on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, we have achieved that.

As an organization, it's a milestone. In terms of our mission, it allows the impact we create to reach people with different disabilities, and for our participants, it's a privilege to be able to approach the topic of disability from different angles and embrace its complexity and importance.