⚡️🦅🌈 The Feeling: Electric Belonging and Soaring Inclusion

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How can we cultivate spaces where everyone has that soaring sense of inclusion?

s.e. smith

The Need

Space without Behaviorism, Segregation, or Ableism

The Answer

Reframing and Respectful Connection

The Feeling

Electric Belonging and Soaring Inclusion

The Learning

Passion-Based, Human-Centered Learning Compatible With Neurodiversity and the Social Model of Disability

Young girl in headphones plugged into a paper book, evoking ear reading and multi-modality learning.

The Gift

We have created a system that has you submit yourself, or your child, to patient hood to access the right to learn differentlyThe right to learn differently should be a universal human right that’s not mediated by a diagnosis.

⚡️🦅🌈 The Feeling: Electric Belonging and Soaring Inclusion

🤲 We create crip space that evokes the electrifying feeling of belonging.

It is very rare, as a disabled person, that I have an intense sense of belonging, of being not just tolerated or included in a space but actively owning it; “This space,” I whisper to myself, “is for me.” Next to me, I sense my friend has the same electrified feeling. This space is for us.

Members of many marginalized groups have this shared experiential touchstone, this sense of unexpected and vivid belonging and an ardent desire to be able to pass this experience along. Some can remember the precise moment when they were in a space inhabited entirely by people like them for the first time.

Crip space is unique, a place where disability is celebrated and embraced-something radical and taboo in many parts of the world and sometimes even for people in those spaces. The idea that we need our own spaces, that we thrive in them, is particularly troubling for identities treated socially as a negative; why would you want to self-segregate with the other cripples? For those newly disabled, crip space may seem intimidating or frightening, with expectations that don’t match the reality of experience-someone who has just experienced a tremendous life change is not always ready for disability pride or defiance, needing a kinder, gentler introduction.

This is precisely why they are needed: as long as claiming our own ground is treated as an act of hostility, we need our ground. We need the sense of community for disabled people created in crip space.

How can we cultivate spaces where everyone has that soaring sense of inclusion, where we can have difficult and meaningful conversations?

Because everyone deserves the shelter and embrace of crip space, to find their people and set down roots in a place they can call home.

“The Beauty of Spaces Created for and by Disabled People” by s.e. smith in “Disability Visibility: First Person Stories from the 21st Century
But no, take me home
Take me home where I belong
I got no other place to go
No, take me home
Take me home where I belong
I got no other place to go
No, take me home
Take me home where I belong
I can't take it anymore

But I kept runnin' for a soft place to fall
And I kept runnin' for a soft place to fall
And I kept runnin' for a soft place to fall
And I kept runnin' for a soft place to fall

--Runaway by AURORA

👩‍❤️‍👨 We foster the feeling of access intimacy.

Access intimacy is that elusive, hard to describe feeling when someone else “gets” your access needs. The kind of eerie comfort that your disabled self feels with someone on a purely access level. Sometimes it can happen with complete strangers, disabled or not, or sometimes it can be built over years. It could also be the way your body relaxes and opens up with someone when all your access needs are being met. It is not dependent on someone having a political understanding of disability, ableism or access. Some of the people I have experienced the deepest access intimacy with (especially able bodied people) have had no education or exposure to a political understanding of disability.

Access intimacy is also the intimacy I feel with many other disabled and sick people who have an automatic understanding of access needs out of our shared similar lived experience of the many different ways ableism manifests in our lives. Together, we share a kind of access intimacy that is ground-level, with no need for explanations. Instantly, we can hold the weight, emotion, logistics, isolation, trauma, fear, anxiety and pain of access. I don’t have to justify and we are able to start from a place of steel vulnerability. It doesn’t mean that our access looks the same, or that we even know what each other’s access needs are. It has taken the form of long talks into the night upon our first meeting; knowing glances shared across a room or in a group of able bodied people; or the feeling of instant familiarity to be able to ask for help or support.

Access Intimacy: The Missing Link | Leaving Evidence

And I’m doing
Better, every day
Because of those who stay aware
That we’re as great as we make
And not all differences need to be so
Explained

The Curse, Solillaquists of Sound

📚 The Learning: Passion-Based, Human-Centered Learning Compatible With Neurodiversity and the Social Model of Disability

Within our space of access intimacy, we practice niche construction and human-centered learning. Continue to learn more.

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