BB Squared: Beautiful Brains, Bold Bodies

Starting and Celebrating Conversations About Differences

5 Reasons I Love My Difference January 26, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — beautifulbrainsboldbodies @ 9:48 am

Today I thought it would be fun to tell you about  5 reasons I think my difference is great. As I have alluded to before, everyone’s experience with their difference is unique, so please do not interpret this as my passing judgement on anyone who feels differently.

1) I like that my difference makes me very clearly unique: People see me and they know I have a different type of story to tell, a different opinion to bring to the table. I am fortunate that the majority of my life this has served me well. I know that other people have not been this lucky.

2) The people who work for me become my friends: As I talked about in my blog post from a couple of weeks ago,I love that those who work for me quickly become my friends. We get to exchange stories about the fabulous and not-so-fabulous parts of our lives, and this makes my life incredibly rich on a daily basis.

3) My life can be hilarious: Whether it’s getting stuck in an elevator, being at war with my technology, or getting extremely creative so that I can have access to a venue, my friends and I are regularly amused by my life. We should get video cameras to follow me around every day, not because I am at all particularly awesome, but because it would make for some great laughs!

4) I learned early to celebrate all of my accomplishments. When I was at university, I used to rejoice each time I made it to an activity on time, because to me that meant that I had successfully scheduled my Personal Support Workers and taken care of the other essentials of my day in a way that allowed me to effectively navigate through my daily life. When I walked (wheeled 🙂 ) somewhere by myself I would rejoice that I made it from Point A to Point B because lack of driving (a car) makes me terrible with directions. Taking pride in all of the accomplishments in my day was something I had to learn, but I am very glad I did.

5) I get to meet people who want to start organizations like BB Squared. One thing I adore about both my life and my chosen field of study, Rehabilitation, is that there is so much room for innovation. There is always room to improve on what currently exists, and consistently new adventures to be had.

If you have a difference, why don’t you tell me 5 things you love about it (if you have them!) If you don’t have a difference, I’d still love your thoughts on this post!

 

On Creating a Movement January 19, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — beautifulbrainsboldbodies @ 8:53 am

One thing some people have been asking us when we tell them about BB Squared is whether we are creating a movement. This a valid question, especially if this is one’s first exposure to the world of differences, and one hears the passion in our voices when we talk about our ideas or the type of world we want to be a part wherein people with and without differences are enjoying and contributing to life together. But as a person who studied Rehabilitation in university, I am glad to tell you that the movement began long before any of us were born.

One of the first times I really understood this was in my second year of university when I had to read the book  No Pity by Joseph Shapiro for a Special Education class. Each chapter of this book discusses a person involved in, or aspect of the disability rights movement in the United States.  Other people perhaps thought this book was interesting, I cried through half of it. I loved knowing that people before me – and people currently – were doing and thinking courageous and exciting things in the name of making people with differences more equal and free. This was reinforced for me again and again in my years at the University of Illinois. Even at a school that has the best post-secondary services out there for persons with physical and perhaps people with learning differences, people were constantly coming up with ideas of how to make the experience better. Today, I continue to be surrounded by the movement each time I go to a meeting or a conference wherein the goal is to make services better for people with differences in Ontario. Not only that, but as I have alluded to in previous blog posts, there are other amazing organizations that are pulling the movement along. This means that right now we are joining in on a beautiful, challenging adventure, and I am confident that we – and anyone who participates with or alongside us – can only make better.

I thought I would end this blog post by sharing a couple of links that relate to the “differences rights movement.” I plan to add to this in the future, so please check back periodically to see if I have added anything. Like other great movements throughout history, I think it is important to remember how far we have come and the people who have contributed to our getting to this place.

Here is a disability rights timeline that covers disability rights in the United States up until 2001. Click on DISABILITY RIGHTS TIME.doc to go to the Word Document containing the timeline.

Here you can find information about the independent living movement (a movement where the focus is to give persons with differences control over their lives) in the U.S. It’s a bit outdated, but still informative:

http://www.independentliving.org/docs5/ILhistory.html

This is the website for the independent living movement in Canada:

http://www.ilcanada.ca/article/home-125.asp

This is a PDF put together by the Canadian Council of Disabilities to discuss and commemorate the strides made for person’s with differences in Canada in the last 30 years:

http://www.ccdonline.ca/en/socialpolicy/poverty-citizenship/income-security-reform/celebrating-our-accomplishments#

Once again, if you know of links that could be added to this list, do not hesitate to let us know.

 

The Gift of Help January 12, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — beautifulbrainsboldbodies @ 11:30 am

My physical difference means that I require help with some aspect every part of daily living, whether it be eating, showering or using the restroom. I am going to be blatantly honest with you right now: I have wonderful parents who have done a ridiculous amount for me over the years, but my Personal Support Workers (PSWs) – the people who help me with daily life in addition to my parents keep me sane – and I don’t think it would be wrong of me to tell you that they keep my parents sane, too. My Personal Support Workers become my peers, my dearest friends, they laugh with me, they keep my secrets, they are patient about things that my parents are not simply because they do not have to deal with them 24/7. They enrich my life countless ways, and directly or indirectly do so for my parents as well.

This is probably obvious, but each of my PSWs is skilled at different aspects of my care. Some are physically stronger than others, some are great at doing my hair, some are good at thinking of new ideas to make caring for me easier. Here is another thing that may indeed surprise you about my PSWs: while the majority of them were involved in the field of differences before meeting me, this was not the case with everyone. One of my wonderful girls in IL desires to design sinks for a living, another came to me as an English major. While I will say that working with me has sparked their interests in the field of differences and/or health care, the point here is that they came to me with an entirely different set of skills and interests, and both are not only fabulous friends to me, but they were amazing PSWs, too.

Why am I telling you this as part of a BB Squared blog post? To point out that similar to my personal life, BB Squared does not want to work off of the ideas of only Jill, Aaron, and myself. We want other people in the “differences community” to tell us their thoughts and ideas. Also, we want people who have never heard of differences to speak up. I know we addressed this in our “About” page, but I just wanted to open 2012 by saying it again. We can’t do this on our own, we don’t want to. We are just starting out, so if you have ideas we may not be able to use them right away, but we will acknowledge and appreciate them certainly. And honestly, I’m not just talking about big ideas, I’m talking little ideas, too. What should we blog about? Do you know cool blogs we should read? Cool people we should know about?  Tell us! We look forward to hearing from you because – as the title of this posts suggests – any help is a gift.