Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) has been a focal point for many school districts over the last two years. Much work has been done in this area and much work is still left to do. It is work that requires knowledge, energy, sensitivity, courage, humility, and curiosity. Disability is the largest marginalized groups in EDI, nearly 20% of the general population, but disability is often overlooked in EDI discourse. Counsellors play a unique, integral EDI role in dismantling ableist discrimination in the school system. This is where I see us working together – Rising in Strength!
If ableism isn’t a familiar concept, consider able-bodied/able minded people valued over people with disabilities. This is what our society currently teaches us. Ableism is so entrenched in our cultural norms that this type of discrimination seems natural, normal and expected. It lies invisible, continuing to cause harm, until we start to unpack our thoughts, what we say, how we develop curriculum and policies, and then, we engage in anti-ableist practice.
With a focus on the K-12 system, Alyson will gently take her audience through identifying institutional, interpersonal, and internalized ableism. Topics covered will include defining ableism and identifying anti-ableist language. Alyson will shed light on disability representation and inspiration porn. She will share ways school counsellors can continue evolving their disability allyship, and provide resources, and strategies that can be implemented immediately to further dismantle discrimination.
We are all at different places in our journey towards EDI. This session will be appropriate for seasoned allies and for those that are at the beginning of their disability EDI journey.
Together we can make a difference for everyone.
Alyson is a charismatic speaker, passionate about sharing information about anti-ableism. She is a seasoned speaker, consultant and advocate.
Alyson has been working in the field of disability for more than 30 years as an ASL interpreter, disability advisor, advocate and instructor. Her Master of Education is in Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies from the University of Calgary. She is currently an Associate Professor at the University of the Fraser Valley having taught in Adult Special Education in the Upgrading and University Preparation department, Community Support in the School of Social Work, and in Adult Education.
Alyson’s University of the Fraser Valley institutional committee work includes service on the President’s Task Force on Equity Diversity and Inclusion, Ethics, Occupational Health and Safety, Joint Early Intervention Support Program for short term disability, Accessibility Advisory Committee, Library Advisory, etc. Her faculty service includes Chair of the FACE Equity Diversity and Inclusion standing committee, curriculum committee, faculty standards, Adult Special Education provincial articulation, Employment and Career Planning provincial articulation, Community Support provincial articulation, curriculum development, faculty IPEC, selection advisory, etc. Her community service includes, chair/member Chilliwack Transition Committee, Focus Disability Network, Disability Resource Network, Chilliwack Mayor’s Inclusion, Diversity and Equity – Accessibility Advisory Panel, Director on the board for the Chilliwack Society for Community Living, both Chilliwack and Abbotsford Employment Round Tables, etc.
Alyson’s research has focused on ableism in employment, ableist language and micro-aggressions. She has been invited to speak at TEDx, Abbotsford school district, Chilliwack school district, Focus Disability Network, Disability Resource Network Annual Conference, Adult Basic Education Annual Conference, Ministry of Children and Family – Youth Mental Health, Special Needs Advisory Council, UBC Educational Doctoral Program specializing in leadership and policy development annual conference, etc.
She lives at the south end of Cultus Lake, BC in a small beach community where she and her husband enjoy walks with their crabby cat, kayaking, and entertaining friends and family on warm evenings at the fire pit.