Stories from the brainreels guests Taylor Harris and Vince Diorio

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This week’s Stories from the brainreels has some really neat people and their really neat work. While I’ve been having a blast doing the call-in show about art on the Brain Injury Radio Network, there’s something special about taking the time to talk to people without the pressure of the live show.

My first guest, Vince Diorio, lives in New Jersey. So we recorded our conversation by phone, and it’s just a short one for now. My second guest, Taylor Harris, lives in Portland so we got to speak in person, here at my home office with the cats hanging around.

I was interested in bringing Vince on the show because of his exquisite work with artists with brain injury. He’s a cognitive rehabilitation specialist and support group facilitator in his working life. He’s also an arts curator for a 10-day exhibit each summer called The Creativity Expo. Vince and his support group participants started The Creativity Expo 11 years ago because there weren’t any opportunities for brain injury survivors in the area to have their art shown in a professional gallery space. (Actually, I still haven’t heard of any besides this one they started.) The project continues every year. And Vince says they never have any lack of participation. People want this, they need this. It’s very enriching for the whole community, and the artists have the chance to sell their work. Have a listen to our conversation! And check out work from years past on The Creativity Expo’s Facebook page. You’ll be hearing more about this project here on the blog very soon.

I met Taylor through a project working on some possible disability studies courses at Portland State University. There’s a ton of training for various medical and rehabilitation clinicians all over the Portland-metro area. So some disability studies to sprinkle in for balance would be wonderful. It’s a process, though. And don’t worry, we don’t talk about planning college classes on the show. We talk about Taylor’s experiences–both internal and external–with being a person with ADD. I think you’ll really enjoy listening, especially because it seems that we have so very much in common around disability experiences. In addition to that, she is about to start graduate school to become a speech-language pathologist. So we got to talk about what it means to go into the field with the disability pride perspective that she holds, something I simply couldn’t do. I hope you’ll stick around for the whole show. Our impromptu comedy routine is at the end, and it’s pretty ridiculous.

Both Vince and Taylor work with people with disabilities, and they are models. Both care so much about the whole person, about how people with disabilities have the right and the desire to do more than just rehab worksheets to improve individual brain skills. Many people want to belong to a community, to contribute and to express themselves. It seems quite clear to me that both Vince and Taylor are hard at work supporting these goals for themselves and their communities.

Tune in Friday, April 4th at 1:00 pm Pacific time or anytime after that. Find an accessible transcript of the show on the Radio show transcripts page, episode #019, on this blog.