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My journey to Imagining Possibilities started in the early summer of 2018, searching various job sites for an internship. I was interested in the summer internship position at Imagining possibilities due to the vast learning potential with regards to marketing, design, and non-profit work. After receiving the position, I was asked to create a website and various digital work for Imagining Possibilities. In order to build a website that represents all the work Imagining Possibilities does, I attended various Imagining Possibilities workshops and events to get a firsthand look at what the workshops and events offer. By attending the workshop, I was able to meet the leadership teams. The Imagining Possibilities leadership team is a growing community of AAC users who work together to create stories through the use of fabric and envision scenography. They also commit time to mentor young AAC users and help organize the Come to the Edge Show.
Coming from a marketing, design, and fine arts background, I had no previous experience or knowledge of cerebral palsy or AAC communication. Attending the workshops was very helpful to educate myself and to combat all the misconception I had about cerebral palsy. I generalized the disabilities to deal with development issues. Talking to Laura, a Toronto leader, and asking her questions like her favourite colour completely changed my perception of CP. Interacting with Christine, Laura, Gab, and Irene showed me they were completely aware of their surroundings and what I was saying but they just communicate non-verbally. When I asked Laura about her favourite colour, she pointed at her black shirt. I then questioned if it is black, which she nodded while smiling.
There were many memorable moments in my internship at Imagining Possibilities. One of them was attending the mini Come to the Edge Show held in Hamilton. Leaders from Toronto, Hamilton, and St. Catherine’s were all in attendance for the performance. The performance showcased all the work the leaders and facilitators are doing to push the movement of inclusivity through creativity. After the performance, Elaine, a Toronto leader, asked me various questions about what school I go to, and what I was studying. After asking me questions, she used her letter board to spell welcome and shook my hand. I was very touched by the gesture, it really made me feel apart of the movement.
Attending the first ever youth workshop was another great experience. It was great to see the drastic change Calum, an 11-year-old AAC user went through from a shy and passive workshop participant to an active agent, contributing his creativity to the story-making process. My time at Imagining Possibilities showcased the work the facilitator and leaders are investing in shifting the way people who use AAC are perceived. Through engaging in artistic collaboration with their peers and expressing their unique ideas, stories and identity through performance, they are pushing the movement of inclusivity through creativity.
Written by Yeshi. Yeshi is an intern at Imagining Possibilities.