The Childhood Cerebral Palsy Integrated Neuroscience Discovery Network (CP-NET) is one of the Ontario Brain Institute’s Integrated Discovery Programs. Recently, Amanda St. Dennis, Danny Steeves and Jessica Geboers, members of CP-NET’s Stakeholder Advisory Group, gathered together to discuss ableism, stigma and discrimination. Here’s a few snippets of what they had to say.

Amanda: Ableism is attitudes, actions, and circumstances. It devalues people, because they are disabled or perceived as having a disability.

Jessica: You know there’s this idea of ‘nothing about us without us’. So, if all of our services are being shaped by people who do not have disabilities, that’s a bias in itself. “

Danny: And all of this leads to stigma. And there’s tons.

Amanda: It’s interesting because in disability studies, there’s actually a term called TAB, or temporarily able-bodied. It acknowledges the fact that 95% of the world of the population is going to become disabled at some point or time in their lives that majority of people may start as non disabled. but by the time they die they are probably going to have experienced disability personally one either permanently or temporarily through their lifetime. Yet with that statistic, you’d think that they would be more compassion. There’d be more understanding.

Jessica: There’s like fear around it. So maybe, and I think there is something in human nature, that often the things that we dislike in other people are also the things that we dislike about ourselves. So, in an effort to keep it at a distance, we ignore it.

Tune in to their frank and poignant discussion below:


Breaking Stigma, Building Empowerment: a storytelling project amplifies honest and diverse narratives from advocates with lived experience within the brain health community. To read other stories from Breaking Stigma, Building Empowerment, visit https://braininstitute.ca/buildingempowerment


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