You never really understand a person until you consider things from their lived experience, until you climb into their skin and walk around in their shoes.

On the 11 May, Inspire invited parents for a day workshop titled; In your child’s shoes. This event addressed the child’s perspective on how he/she lives through the challenges of communication and the impact that sensory difficulties may have on their child due to the diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder.

The event was designed to address the communication perspective, therefore how parents can support their child by using visual prompts to enhance communication and minimise frustration. The sensorial perspective was also taken into consideration, trying to help parents understand better what is going on within their child who has sensory difficulties and how they can support to alleviate the sensory overload.

Moreover, from a psychological viewpoint, exploring the emotions of their children and why they react in certain ways. How as parents they can support the emotional experience of their children; in a way that equips them with healthy coping strategies and at the same time allows them to express their emotional experience.  In addition to the emotional experience of the parents. Their journey of being parents to a child with autism and the roller coaster of emotions they live through on a daily basis.

Last but not least, this special day also had the aim of bringing families and professionals together for a very special purpose. A significant group of people with different life experiences, different cultures and ethnicities, educational backgrounds, gender, roles and what not. Together we were shaping a more refined understanding of what is believed it means to have autism. Together we provided a space for healing, a space for acceptance of ‘what is’ and the complexity of emotions that are brought about along the path of parenthood and professionals working with individuals with disabilities.

Keeping in mind the theory of intersectionality, which is the belief that multiple parts of our identity, being our race, sexuality, gender etc… can never be understood in isolation. Therefore, who we are is summed up from the overlaps and intersections of the different aspects of our identity, which is also bound by context.

This is the same when looking at our relatives and friends who have a disability.  One cannot view the disability on its own but in the context of that individual’s identity. Amongst many, their gender, culture and lived experiences. In the same way, one cannot understand the person, without considering his/her disability and how it intersects with everything else to form the identity.

…not only can we not reduce lived experiences into single categories, it also makes no sense to hold them separate when considering them…

Hill Collins

We take this opportunity to thank Corinthia Group who sponsored this full-day event.  Their hospitality and service were superb, adding that very much appreciated oomph to the day!