Thanks to everyone who sent me comments and thoughts on the Connectivity writing project. Over the next few days I’ll post up some of the feedback and thoughts that these pieces. Remember to send comments on these things too and I’ll pull them all together.
This post came from Gail Teachman – Lecturer with the Department of Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy, University of Toronto and PhD candidate in the Graduate Department of Rehabilitation Science at University of Toronto, working with Barbara Gibson.
Gail TeachmanThinking about ‘connectivity’ offers an immediate shift in perspective – away from the notion that disabled people are ‘other’. Rehabilitation, amidst broader social structures, constructs disabled persons as subjects of a particular type: subjects who need fixing, who need to be normalized, who suffer, who heroically overcome, etc. There is a particular focus on individualized subjects in rehabilitation where what is counted, and what counts almost always relates to ‘individual patient’ units of measurement.
As a researcher, thinking about the aims of my research and how/whether I can provide specific suggestions to improve children’s rehabilitation, I am mindful that I risk reproducing this focus on individual subjects – albeit in ways that advocate opening up multiple possible subjectivities including more positive disability identities.
Connectivity provides a lens to generate/catalyze my thinking about ‘the problem’ and therefore, potential ‘solutions’, differently, that is, where the ‘problem’ is not located at the level of the individual subject. This suggests, for me, an appreciation of how thinking about how connectivity, and specifically Barbara Gibson’s work on ‘assemblages’, can be fruitful. Connectivity offers a strategy for thinking, not only about how we all accomplish particular actions in our everyday lives, but as way of thinking differently about problematizations that are implicit in rehabilitation e.g. value laden notions of ability/disability, functional/non-functional, enabling/disabling and the ways these mediate our thinking about ‘what’ is meaningful.