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VIDEO - Ableism and Disablism

Thursday, April 11, 2024
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Briarna Silk
Brisbane 2032
Diversity and Inclusion

In this video, Disability and Inclusion Advocate Katie Kelly OAM PLY shares experiences of Ableism and Disabilism as she has experienced in work, community and sport.

Copied below the video is the visual description and then a transcription of the video.

Visual description of images in the video:

The video includes Katie sitting on a high stool chair by herself, in a beige linen jacket with a white shirt, and the frame captures her from chest upwards. It is being filmed in a film studio and most of the video includes Katie is talking and facing the camera as she shares experiences of competing in Para-triathlon, and her career as an advocate for disability and inclusion. While she is talking the video also shows various images and footage of Katie which are described below.

Throughout the video it is Katie speaking the words as they are transcribed below. At times there is soft gentle music in the background. There are no other sound effects. Throughout the video there are images of Katie crossing the finish line at Rio 2016 Paralympics with her Guide, Michellie Jones OAM on her side. Additional images also include Katie and Michellie training on a tandem bike both stationary and on the open road, as well as competing in other para-triathlon races including Chicago 2015 World Championships.

When Katie talks about Ableism and Disablist attitudes there are images of her walking across Spain doing the Camino pilgrimage.  These are mostly still images, including one of Katie in walking gear, a wet weather jacket and carrying a backpack, whilst holding a white cane in amoung a forest, outdoor setting. Another image is of her standing next to a sign post marked with the distance walked of 581km, and the words Santiago on the sight.

When talking about ableism in the workplace and community there are images of Katie training and also video images of a person who is a wheelchair user trying to access an entry to a building that has stairs, and another video image of another person holding a remote control watching TV that has no captions on.

When Katie talks to the comedy workshop, there are images of Katie on a stage holding a microphone with Guthrie her Guide Dog sitting beside her. The stage has red curtains behind Katie and bright lights on her and Guthrie. Guthrie is a black labrador/retriever and is 3 years old in this video.

The video ends with an image that includes the text Katie Kelly OAM PLY, Disability and Inclusion Advocate and 2 x Paralympian, with the website The image includes at Katie Kelly logo which has the letters KK, and it is on a navy background with white font.

Transcript – video of Katie Kelly talking about her experiences of Ableism and Disablist attitudes

I think it's also really important to have some conversation around concepts such as ableism and disablism.

And they are similar, but there is nuances in both. So ableism is prioritising the needs of people without a disability over those with.

So that can be something like, not having accessible wheelchair ramp into a building or not having close captions available on live stream.And it's really important we think about where ableism exists in our everyday because it does.

And this is really a barrier for people with disability to participate and to have the same opportunity of people without disability in our everyday.

People ask me what disablism attitude is and it's something I, I do experience quite often.

I could almost say daily.So an example I could give is I had the wonderful opportunity to do the Camino Pilgrimage, which is across Spain. And a person said to me: How is someone like you with a white cane going to walk across Spain?

And I said: Well, why wouldn't someone like myself be able to do that walk? Because what that comment does is that it disables me.It almost has this lower expectation that because I have a white cane, I can't do what people without a white cane do.

And this is where we need to challenge again.And often those barriers and low expectations we put on people with disability.

Recently I thought I'd try my hand at comedy, so I did a comedy workshop over a weekend and we had to perform on stage five minute stand up.I had my guide dog Guthrie with me. He was part of the act and it went really well.

Afterwards, the comedy coach, who was fantastic and very inclusive along the way, but they sort of mentioned: Katie, maybe it would be better if you do a lunchtime session because the nighttime sessions might be a bit challenging for you with your low vision.

You can't see very well at night and it's a bit hard with the guide dog.And in many ways that's another example of disablism attitude, right?

And this person that wouldn't have been their intention.

And essentially I said: Well, I think what we need to do is advocate for the hotel industry and for this sector to improve the inclusion of people with disability, to be able to go out to the pub at night and to be able to perform stand up comedy and, you know, that there can be  a guide dog in those surrounds.So disablism attitude can be quite subtle and they can appear in our everyday conversations.

We just really need to be mindful of those sorts of language and words that we impose on people with disability.

Because whilst we're trying to create a connection, we're actually doing the opposite and creating a disconnect and disabling that person and their sense of self to achieve and be part of the community in the same way that you are.

Video ends.  

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