Autistic Nick, DDWA and the ‘Community Educators Project’
West Perth is an inner suburb of Perth, the capital city of Western Australia.
Formerly an exclusive suburb for wealthy merchants and politicians, it is now part of the inner mixed zone, and has predominantly office blocks which have displaced residential buildings.
Nestled inside the National Lottery House Building is Developmental Disability WA (DDWA) https://ddwa.org.au/
About Developmental Disability WA
“DDWA was established in 1985 and is a trusted source of independent information, advocacy, education and support for people with intellectual and other developmental disability, their families and the people who support them. DDWA offers free membership to individuals and family members and others who have an interest in advancing the rights and needs of people with disability. “
I have previously written about Developmental Disability WA (DDWA) here as I am currently volunteering with them. https://autisticnick.com/2019/04/01/autistic-nck-volunteers/
But I now find myself here again but for a completely different set of circumstances.
Part of Developmental Disability WA’s remit is that they run workshops on a variety of topics which are held in various locations.
I was called into a meeting to discuss if I was interested in having a role in an upcoming DDWA event.
This event is titled ‘Community Educators Project’
the aim of the workshop is to share what it is like for you when people treat you differently.
As the flyer states
“This is your chance to help people understand why respect is important for everyone”
I would be working in conjunction with Maxine Drake, Advocacy Consultant and Bronwyn Pike, Side by Side Manager.
My role in this project is to be the interviewer asking a set of pre-prepared questions on a wide range of subjects suited to those individuals who are taking part.
In the interim a flyer was emailed out to members of DDWA.
THE NEXT STEP
Over the next few weeks Bronwyn spent time interviewing our potential candidates. She then emailed me through bullet points on what they wanted to discuss. I then had the task of writing questions based around their stories.
We agreed that a total of 10 questions per participant was amble.
Meanwhile back at DDWA HQ
Bronwyn and Maxine were busy securing the services of Julia Hale.
Who is Julia Hale I hear you ask?
Julia Hales is a performing artist dedicated to sharing the experiences of people living with disabilities, including her own experience of living with Down syndrome.
Ms Hales has a 20-year history of with DADAA (Disability in the Arts, Disadvantage in the Arts Australia), through which she made the short film Finding Love in 2017.
The project led her to collaborate with Perth Festival, and in 2018 she presented the world-premiere of You Know We Belong Together, commissioned by Perth Festival in a co-production with DADAA and Black Swan.
The show returned to Black Swan in 2019. Ms Hales regularly volunteers with children with Down syndrome and speaks at state and national events.
She also featured in a news story here
PREPERATION AND QUESTIONS STAGE
Once I had a set of questions for each of the people being interviewed (I must point out here that at this point Bronwyn still has to speak and interview some people).
But the completed questions were emailed to Bronwyn and she is currently going through them to review what I have written.
THE DAY ARRIVES!
As I catch the train I am very nervous. I have only interviewed people once before on camera so to some degree my nerves should be able to cope.
Our cameraman and our director have already set up the equipment in one of the conference rooms. I am having a microphone attached to me as I sit in my chair waiting for the first of ten people to come and be interviewed by me.
It’s been a long day, but I have survived! I started at 10 am and now it’s 4 pm!
The participants delivered and gave me and hopefully those that get to view this a great insight into how to better understand and them and their disability and why getting respect is important for them.
I hope that I will be able to get a copy of this project to share with you at some point.
My thanks to Developmental Disability WA and to Maxine and Bronwyn for allowing me to be a part of this project.
Also, thanks must go out to Julia Hales and those that took part in this project.
Carry on the Conversation
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Thank you for reading and I will see you next time for more thoughts from across the spectrum.