Belonging, respect, sharing spaces, contribution, and choice. Those are the five valued experiences for the good things in life as defined by John O’Brien. If you know who your people are, if you have a valued social role, if you use the same community spaces as everybody else (and for the same reasons), if you contribute meaningfully to your community, and if you have autonomy to discover and define your own path forward, then you’ve got what you need for a happy, meaningful life.
That’s the case for everybody, but those with disabilities have more access barriers to these valued experiences. John joined me for the podcast this week to talk about the five experiences and the social foundations that too often prevent those with disabilities from fully experiencing them—the “diabolically clever” forces of social devaluation and exclusion. We consistently underestimate what’s possible for people with disabilities, and we’ve seen time and again that it’s up to people with disabilities themselves, and their loved ones, to be the drivers of innovation and progressive change.
John works for the Centre for Welfare Reform, where he advises people with disabilities and their families, advocacy groups, service providers, and governments. He writes and runs workshops to spread the news among people interested in change. He works in partnership with Connie Lyle O’Brien and a group of friends from 19 countries, and is a Fellow of the Centre for Welfare Reform (UK). He’s also affiliated with inControl Partnerships (UK) and the Marsha Forest Centre (Canada). He was a member of Center on Human Policy, Law & Disability, Syracuse University (US) for 35 years.
I was so pleased to talk to John this week about the practicalities of consciousness and intention around his principle of five valued experiences, and I’m even more excited that this was just the first episode in a two-part series; John will be back next week to talk about something he calls the “edge” of social progress. Listen now for his exciting insights on everything that can be possible in enabling people with disabilities to live happy, fulfilling lives at the heart of their communities.
Thanks for Listening!
Resources & Links Mentioned:
- Colouring book at inclusion.com
- Book: Make a Difference, https://inclusion.com/product/make-a-difference-a-guidebook-for-person-centered-direct-support/
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Special thanks to John O’Brien for joining me this week. Until next time!