Film for education and advocacy

Listen to this post: 

Not long ago, my brain injury made a decision for me: go on medical leave from my job as a speech therapist because I was too impaired to work. Um, awkward. Didn’t I just finish this degree where I learned how to help people with brain injury get back to their lives? I couldn’t remember a thing I’d learned. Over time, I started to recover. Then I got back into Disability arts. It wasn’t an overnight decision. Everything went slow as molasses then. But I came to see working in Disability arts would be a more satisfying career. So this time I made the decision.

Now, why is a career where you’re never guaranteed to earn a dime unless you raise it yourself, and you never know when it’s time to clock in or clock out, more satisfying than a stable career with good pay, regular hours and benefits? My impairments are why I originally left the 40-hour a week working world. Advocacy and social justice are why I’ve remained outside it.

Look at this article by Caitlin Wood. It’s called “Disability on TV: Where’s the (Real) Representation This Fall?” It’s about how few disabled characters are on TV this upcoming season. And they’re not all even played by real disabled people. That prevents disabled actors from getting great gigs, leaves folks thinking disabled people can’t work as actors, and only shows audiences a non-disabled perspective of what disability must be like.  Hmm. Why not just hire people with disabilities? I’ve addressed things like this on this blog like with the post on disability stereotypes and a description of why I made my first two comedies.

The StoryMinders logo with the tagline "Changing your mind about ours"

So my business, StoryMinders. I don’t help people with brain injury to behave and communicate more like everyone else. I don’t like to see myself as “helping” anything. I hand folks the camera, microphone, and keyboard so they make the decisions of what they want to share and how. This is where I have the real fun! I’m doing tons:

  • making films where people with brain injury and disabilities express their own perspectives, ideas and talents
  • working with folks to set up their own blogs, get art exhibits going, and start their own internet radio programs to advocate for themselves and their communities
  • giving presentations and trainings
  • disability as part of Diversity and Inclusion
  • what brain injury looks like in the workplace
  • how storytelling and setting personal goals can help make cognitive rehabilitation for brain injury more meaningful
  • whatever you’d like me to present on about disability culture and justice; inclusion; brain injury; and how humor and film can be amazing tools for breaking down stereotypes, challenging stigma, and inviting cooperative problem-solving and dialogue!

There in my logo I have the tagline “changing your mind about ours.” Our society tends to see the person with brain injury or disability as inferior, damaged, weakened, as patients, and in need of education about how to act more “normal.” What if we could change our minds about all that? What if we discovered that seeing disability as the opposite of healthy, normal, and competent is not a universal fact but a choice that can be quite damaging to a lot of people? What if folks didn’t see disability as so negative and so foreign but as a natural occurrence and as filled with countless assets and strengths?

I don’t represent the brain injury community. But I would be most honored to help bridge some of the divides between disabled and non-disabled communities. Drop me a line. Schedule me for a training or presentation for your group or organization.