B5 Ableism – What it is, How It Impacts Different Communities, and Why It Matters

This presentation is an introduction to ableism; a term that refers to the long history of discrimination towards people with disability or perceived disabilities. This workshop will offer a brief explanation of the term – what it means and why it’s important to consider the impact of our behavior and language. We will try to highlight and unpack some of the ways that ableism is woven into our daily lives, and develop some practical approaches that could help us begin to make a shift. The presentation takes inspiration from the disability justice movement, and includes a panel of people representing different perspectives, who will share some of their personal and/or work experiences encountering ableism.

Learning Objectives
1) Learn what Ableism means, how it shows up in the world, and why you should care
2) Be able to identify some key ableist terms and alternatives
3) Understand ableism from different communities’ perspective; moving beyond mental health

Presenter Bios

Randy Morrison Randy is a person who understands what it’s like to navigate substance use and mental health challenges. He is the director of peer services at MaineHealth and is a certified Intentional Peer Support (IPS) Specialist, IPS Trainer, and Recovery Coach trainer. Randy oversees the development of peer support programs across MaineHealth. Currently, MaineHealth has over 60 peer support positions in a number of settings, including emergency departments, youth programs, case management, and four peer support centers. Outside of work, he enjoys traveling with his husband, bird watching, and heading to a park with his dog, Sully.

Ariel Linet Ariel has lived with anxiety (sometimes companionably and sometimes contentiously) her entire life. She is new to peer support roles, and has found the experience to be very enriching. Ariel is the manager of the Youth Peer Support Statewide Network at Maine Behavioral Healthcare, which serves youth ages 14-26 across the state who self-identify with mental health challenges. Prior to this, she was the children’s advocacy attorney at Disability Rights Maine, advocating with and for young people to protect their rights and make their own decisions. Ariel serves on the board of Speak About It, a Maine-based nonprofit that uses theater to educate and spark dialogue about consent and sexuality with high school and college students.

Sara Squires Sara is the Public Policy Director at Disability Rights Maine. She joined DRM as an intake coordinator in September 2002 and she continues to provide information and referral services, while also coordinating the agency’s policy work, maintaining DRM’s print/online media presence, and overseeing data management for reporting and quality assurance purposes. Sara is currently a member of the Maine Health Access Foundation’s (MeHAF) Community Advisory committee and is past Chair of the MaineCare Advisory Committee. When not at work, she enjoys spending time with her husband, cat and numerous nieces and nephews.

Kristine D. Gile Kristin is the Program Manager of Outpatient Therapy Program and the Deaf Service Program for Maine Behavioral Healthcare. She has worked in the mental health field for over 19 years with D/deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Hearing individuals and their families. When she is not providing Mental Health Services, she is working with other organizations and communities to provide consultations, trainings, presentations and groups to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Youths, Families, Providers, and Communities. She spends her free time with her family and 2 dogs.

Samantha Severance Samantha is a self-advocate who lives in Portland. She likes to take pictures and do scrapbooking, and she knows some American Sign Language.