The Sound of Community
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The Sound of Community

“Good morning, friends! It’s great to see so many faces today.” So begins the daily music singalong sessions with musician (and friend) Mendelt Hoekstra on Zoom. Mendelt creates connections for adults and youth with developmental disabilities across Ontario. Participants attend from their group homes, independent living dwellings and classrooms. Rachel and Janneke attend while at…

Unmaking fairytales
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Unmaking fairytales

When other children have asked me about Rachel and Janneke’s disabilities, I’ve often used the words, “Their bodies work differently from yours.” My intention in those situations has been to simply acknowledge the difference. But more recently, I’ve been reflecting on how we as adults interpret or even contrive differences. In the beginning “It is…

Out of step
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Out of step

On March 13, 1990, an eight-year-old girl, diagnosed with cerebral palsy, joined over 60 adults and families impacted by physical disabilities to crawl up the steps of the Capitol building in Washington D.C. without their mobility devices to physically demonstrate the inaccessible architecture and culture of America.  Living in an ableist culture My two youngest,…

The Washer Life
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The Washer Life

It’s 11 p.m., and I am headed to bed. Though it is suggested that the average family does eight to ten loads of wash each week (spruce.com), in our home, the washer and dryer run almost continuously throughout the day. Due to the specific nature of Rachel and Janneke’s needs, we average five loads a…

The kite lady
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The kite lady

I can say without reservation that flying our kite is Rachel’s favourite thing to do. Unleashed in the wind, the colourful fabric and long tail is eye-catching and mesmerizing. As often as possible, weather permitting, we drive Rachel and Janneke to The Spit. It’s a narrow tree-filled stretch of land alongside the Welland Canal that…

The disability camp that started a revolution
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The disability camp that started a revolution

“This camp changed the world, and nobody knows the story.”  So begins co-director and narrator Jim LeBrecht in the opening scenes of Crip Camp. A critically lauded award-winning documentary film directed by LeBrecht and Nicole Newnham, Crip Camp tells the story of a summer camp and its impact on the disability revolution in the United…

Making Time
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Making Time

In September 2017, I wrote about the concept of time as it relates to disability and discipleship, seen through the lens of disability theologian John Swinton’s book Becoming Friends of Time: Disability, Timefullness and Gentle Discipleship. It’s four years later, and I am still recommending that book (and that column).  Add to the book list…