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Some ideas from Wash. State

Leahmae@aol.com on 07/15/98 02:59:20 PM
To: Shlomo Mantz
Re: NDD set-up

Hi Shlomo-

I think these are great ideas and think they would be very helpful to follow up with. When I first signed up with this listserv I suggested to the FIRST office that I think it be very important to involve a diverse group of people- this including people with disabilities. I know from past experience how very important it is to involve a diverse group from the very beginning of an organizations inception. By doing this it develops a culture of the organization instead of trying to change things later on down the road.

Of course my interest is to have a very diverse group of people involved- people with disabilities are not always consider, so that is why I am always speaking up for that.

What we have learned and continuously have to stop and question ourselves about when creating work groups, meetings, etc. is how to be hospitable so that EVERYONE feels welcome, like they are a very meaningful part of the group. Ithink this is important because people need to know

1) why they were asked to participate

2) that they are making a contribution to the group. Also people communicate differently and a good facilitator is very helpful. Myself, being a quiet person, need time to be able to speak- I am not a person that is going to generally interupt someone to say my thoughts. Some people with disabilities use a computerized board to speak and some cultures communicate differently- My point is that all of this needs to be considered and really focused on. Probably what has helped us the most is that we try to develop a relationship that is reciprocal and respectful.

I noticed that so far there have been only a few people who really interact within the listserv. This just makes me wonder if there needs to be something that would make poeple feel more welcomed to participate? Do you know what I mean?

I think your email included some good ideas for FIRST to go on. Well--I hope this might be helpful.

Leah

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