'Up until this last year, my understanding of ‘disabilities’ was very minimal. For a long time, disability was shrouded in this cloud of unknowing, primarily, because my exposure to it was equally as minimal.
I’ve taken away a great many things from working at Turning Tides and its helped to blow away the cloud of unknowing to help me discover a great many things. Perhaps, most importantly:
I am incredibly grateful for the education I have received throughout my life, however looking back I can’t help but think there could have been better experiences with regards to ‘disability’. Working at TTTP has given me knowledge that I believe the wider society lacks. It allowed the cloud, casting an antiquated shadow over disability, to quickly dissipate. I soon realised that ‘disabilities’ were simply differences, that we’re all different and that these idiosyncrasies and differences are qualities that should be cherished as shining beacons of individuality. Issues of ‘capability’ then become null and void when people’s qualities are embraced and projects are presented thoughtfully and appropriately.
The stuffy old stereotype surrounding disability is boring and outdated. We recently premiered our Heritage Project to the community, we perform together as a band all over the South West. We upload and edit podcasts for the world to hear, we’re researching what could make train access across the South West more accessible and we run an entire Tea Rooms teaching valuable skills, such as cooking (that I more than anyone needed). All this was done as a team, ‘with’ not ‘on behalf of‘ individuals with labels.
I am excited to see where the future takes TTTP and I hope they can continue to blow away the cloud of unknowing that surrounds disability for others too, to show the talent and potential of more and more people. On a larger scale, I hope the Social Model Approach can eventually be integrated into mainstream society, to unlock even more potential.
Written by Tom Wood, Published By Eliot Palfreman