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ArtBeat Radio: Identity, Part One

Updated: Mar 8, 2022

To start the New Year, Able ARTS Work's ArtBeat Radio Podcast discusses "Identity, and what that means to them. This episode is moderated by Board-Certified Music Therapist Heidi Tulcan, and Virtual Learning Coordinator Sydney Davis-Campos. You can listen to the podcast and read the transcript below.


Welcome back to ArtBeat Radio! You’re listening to our first episode of 2022! We held a panel of Able ARTS Work clients back in October 2021 and asked them various questions regarding their identities and how each individual feels about person first language vs identify first language. This conversation was so lively that we had to break it into two episodes. Episode 2 will be out next week on Friday, January 28th 2022.

Thank you to Max Lecanu-Fayet, Stephanie Monis, Renee Morneau, Timothy Holmes, Alison Salo, Brian Corder and Cristina Mariotta for being part of this panel.

Thank you to Stephanie Monis for this album artwork!

Thanks for listening and tune in next time! For more information about our organization, please visit our website:


Intro music by ArtBeat Radio staff: Music, stories and more. You’re listening to ArtBeat Radio (ABR), a program by Able ARTS Work.

Stephanie: Welcome back to ABR. This is our first episode of 2022!

Jillian: This year we’re more accessible. We have audio transcriptons with every episode.

Stephanie: In October we held a panel where we talked about our identities.

Jillian: Hope you enjoy it!

Stephanie: I hope you enjoy

Heidi: Hi everybody, thank you so much for volunteering to be part of this panel we really appreciate it and want to hear what your thoughts are about these topics. First, we're just going to go around and introduce ourselves. You can include whatever information you like, or you can just say your name. It's up to you but I'll start. My name is Heidi. I work at ART Center as a music therapist and I've been here about two-and-a-half years.

Sydney: So, I am Sydney. Almost all of you guys know me. I used to work at ART Center as the assistant program manager, and now I am the virtual learning coordinator for Able ARTS Work. I am an artist. I am also an art historian, which is cool for you, Max. We’ll talk about history sometime. I am very excited to talk with you guys today.

Savannah: Hi, Ya’ll! I'm Savannah. I’m a drama instructor here at Able ARTS Work stationed at ART Center. I think most of y'all know me and have worked on playwriting and storytelling and all those fun things.

Stephanie: Okay, I’m Stephanie J. Monis. I am 32-years old and I have a disability called Autism.

Matthew: Matthew Campano I live in Long Beach. I’m in Able ARTS Work.

Cristina: My name is Cristina Mariotta. I live in Long Beach, California. I live with my mom. I have my dog. I live by Able ARTS Work, my program is 15 years.

Heidi: You live with your mom and your dog and you've been here 15 years?

Cristina: Yeah.

Heidi: Thanks for sharing, Cristina.

Timothy: My name is Timothy Holmes, and I'm 34-years old. I’ve lived in Long Beach, California all my life. What else? I've been in the program for...For like four years. Four and a half years now. I’m enjoying it and I have a learning disability, but I can do art very well.

Max: My name is Max Lecanu-Fayet I am 20 years old. I'm attending Palomar college once a week and I have Autism, and I have an interest in history so I really enjoy reading about stuff in history, and also, I want to become a screenwriter someday.

Renee: My name is Renee Morneau. I’m 38-years old, and I’m Down’s Syndrome.

Brian: My name is Brian Corder and I have CP. I’ve been having CP all my life, so I’ve been in a wheelchair, but I’ve been known to walk around home with a walker. Recently I got refitted for some more braces. In a few weeks or so, I’ll have new braces, so I’ll be walking!

Heidi: Okay, folks, so we’re just going to talk a little about identity today. Sort of - there's no right answer, there's no wrong answers. We’re just having a conversation. We're going to start talking about identity. First question is; how would you define identity?

Matthew: Identity is ID!

Sydney: An ID? Okay.

Heidi: Will you tell us more about that Matthew?

Matthew: Matthew Campano.

Sydney: So, your name is your identity, Matthew?

Matthew: Yeah!

Sydney: What do you think, Stephanie? What makes your identity?

Stephanie: My identity is – does it mean something that you admire or something that you like? Is that what it means or, does it mean something else?

Heidi: Identity means I think whatever you think. I love your description of it being something- something that you are or something that you like. Will you share a little bit more about that with us? What do you picture as being yourself? What's your identity?

Stephanie: Well, I have after this, I have an appointment and we are doing a play that I wrote.

Max: Nice!

Stephanie: Yeah, it's really- It's really fun, and yeah. I actually wrote it.

Heidi: What's it about? Will you share with us?

Stephanie: It's a love comedy in the hospital between Oliver Twist and Annie.

Heidi: I love that.

Stephanie: Yeah.

Heidi: That’s beautiful. So, in talking about identify, you talked about creative art therapies and writing a play. Is playwriting something that you would consider part of your identity?

Stephanie: *nods*

Heidi: I love that. Are there any other aspects when you see them you go; “That's me. That's Stephanie”?

Stephanie: Sign language.

Heidi: Sign language.

Matthew: I'm an artist!

Sydney: There you go!

Matthew: I’m an artist, see?

Stephanie: That is pretty good, Matt.

Matthew: Thank you!

Heidi: Stephanie shared that - you know identity feels like stuff that she loves and things that she enjoys. She mentioned playwriting. Matthew mentioned being an artist, Max is a screenwriter.

Max: Yeah!

Heidi: And loves history

Max: I wrote a script back in high school.

Heidi: Ooh! What about?

Max: It's based on a story I had written and it's about these siblings who grew up on an island in like the 30s, and they get a visit from their uncle, and actually, things go crazy. The island gets invaded.

Brian: Now, Max.

Max: Yeah?

Brian: I want to ask you a question.

Max: Yeah?

Alison: I do too but I’ll let Brian go first.

Brian: Now, what is the difference between a script writer and a screenwriter? Or is there any difference?

Max: I don't think there's like a difference. It’s just like people- I guess it’s the same thing. I think they’re the same thing. They write stuff and they turn into films or TV show episodes.

Tim: Identity is like knowing who you are and what you're capable of.

Stephanie: Wow, Tim! That’s a good-

Max: Yeah, that’s a good one!

Matthew: Good, Stephanie!

Sydney: So, how do you think that definition applies to you, Tim? What do you think about how you’re capable and who you are?

Tim: Well, knowing what you’re capable of and knowing what you can handle. Like if you could talk to people you can - like Stephanie said, or by using sign language. Or, sometimes just write words on a paper and then see it for yourself.

Stephanie: Yeah, totally!

Sydney: Do you think your identity can be changed, Alison? Over time?

Alison: Yes. I think- I don't know the exact words, you know?

Brian: Well, are you trying to say more confident?

Alison: Not exactly, but more outgoing.

Brian: Oh! More outgoing-was the sound that you were making?

Alison: Yeah! More outgoing.

Renee: My identity is Down syndrome. I’m 38. I have a lot of family and friends, and I care about loving and caring, and an adorable boyfriend. He’s Down’s Syndrome like me. I’m telling you with my life. Like, be 50-years old, get engaged, get married, and live together, and then I'll have kids someday. I can go to college sometimes that.

Max: Nice! I’d eventually start a family as my own.

Renee: Me too! *laughs*. My hands and fingers is different and they’re bent how when I was a baby because I am Down’s Syndrome.

Heidi: Brian, do you want to share a little bit about your identity?

Brian: I’ve felt that I’m getting to be my own person. I’m advocating for myself a lot more and I’m saying, “Hey, this is not right!”. So, I stand up for myself.

Alison: I do too! Boy, do I ever!

Stephanie: Identity is something that you really admire.

Matthew: Who are you?

Max: Yeah, who you are.

Rhett: I’m a cool person, yeah.

Sydney: What makes you a cool person Rhett?

Rhett: Talking to people.

Cristina: I remember when I was in school, I met my friend Tim. We were talking about- We were not liking wearing the clothes. Not liking the pants because I wore clothes. I don't like them either because I remember not liking wearing this in the community because that's too much. Too much clothing isn’t always a good one. See, you are a good program. I remember because we're not like the - right it up my body. Because I like to skirt. And I have never because people because can I talk to you when I was in the program. You don’t yell at me. I remember because I was was not liking wearing the pants because that’s not good, and they would hurt my body. They’re too tight because I like skirts better than pants.

Heidi:Would you say that wearing clothing of your choice is important for you?

Cristina: Yeah, the skirts and I remember because people who cannot talk to me because I was in the program and I was not verbal.

Heidi: So, Cristina, you mentioned verbal and non-verbal. Does somebody want to sort of talk about what that means? Verbal and non-verbal.

Cristina: Verbal is speak. People can talk to me and I want to speak. This is called verbal-not verbal communication and non-verbal is a learning disorder.

Heidi: Okay, so I heard you say communication. So, verbal communication is using their words?

Cristina: Yeah.

Heidi: And then non-verbal - what are some ways that we can communicate nonverbally? Stephanie, I see your hand up.

Stephanie: People that are non-verbal use a device.

Savannah: Stephanie what's another nonverbal way that you use to communicate?

Stephanie: I love sign language *laughs*

Savannah: Why do you love sign language so much?

Stephanie: Because it’s a verbal communication.

Sydney: Do you mean visual?

Stephanie: Yeah, visual communication.

Sydney: Okay.

Stephanie: Yeah, I’m going to get my degree for a translator so I can talk to my friends.

Max: Nice!

Savannah: Stephanie is it important to communicate with your friends that might not use verbal speech?

Stephanie: Yeah.

Max: Yeah. That sounds like a good thing to do.

Renee: And be and caring and loving person.

Max: Right.

Heidi: Yeah, Renee. So, it sounds like being a caring and loving person – one of the good ways that we could do that is by changing our communication styles to make sure that we’re inclusive to everybody. We’re out of time for today but I just want to say thank you so much for all of you coming to this panel, and sharing about yourselves, about your identity, and what's important to you. We’ll consider this a part one for our discussion and maybe next week we will come together and do a part two. Thank you!


Part Two of the Identity podcast is now available! If you want to learn more about identity and person-first or identity-first language, you can read this post. Also, listen to more ArtBeat Radio Podcasts on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.


ArtBeat Radio is a weekly podcast run by clients of Able ARTS Work and can be heard on all major podcast platforms. This is a group that sits between a music therapy session, and a podcasting class. The group meets daily to determine what they would like their podcast to be about. Group members are given leadership roles for podcasts and make all creative decisions with instructors and therapists working alongside them to make their dream episodes a reality.


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