Updated: Mar 8
To start the New Year, Able ARTS Work's ArtBeat Radio Podcast discusses "Identity", and what that means to them in this two-part series. Access part one here. 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 part 2 of our Identity series. 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.
Thank you to Max Lecanu-Fayet, Stephanie Monis, Renee Morneau, Timothy Holmes, Alison Salo, Brian Corder, Matthew Campano 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 www.ableartswork.org .
*Intro music by ArtBeat Radio staff*: Music, stories and more. You’re listening to ArtBeat Radio, a program by Able ARTS Work.
Stephanie: Welcome back to ABR.
Jillian: This year we’re more accessible. We have audio transcriptions 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: Alright, Folks, so we’ll just kind of get started. It’s just a conversation. I know that Savannah was talking a little bit about how today is part 2 to our inclusive language panel. So, thank you all for joining. I’m so excited to hear what you have to say. The first thing that I want to just let you know is that we are being recorded right now, so anything you say here will go out to other people. Is everybody okay with that?
Heidi: Okay, okay. Let me know if you say anything and then you’re like “oh, actually I don’t want other people to hear that” and then we can just take it out, okay? The other thing that I kind of wanted to mention is – if I say something that you don’t agree with, please correct me.
Heidi: It would help me understand your point of view- I think the same for everybody in this class? I don’t want to speak for- okay! Yeah, just if there’s something where you’re like, “Hey actually, I don’t agree with that!” Let us know, help us learn. Teach us your ways. We’re going to go around and do introductions. You can say as much about you as you want, or as little about you as you want. Just whatever you’re comfortable with, okay?
Max: I am Max. I live in California. I’m interested in becoming a screenwriter. I go to college and I have Autism. Yeah, and I’ve also written two screenplays before. I’ve also done some work in theater and acting in theater productions. That’s all the stuff that I’ve done.
Timothy: My name is Timothy Holmes. I am 34-years old. I soon- in some months I’ll be 35 and I was born in Long Beach California. I have Autism and I’ve been in the program for 4 years! After this year, it’ll be 5, and I’m glad to be here.
Stephanie: Hi, I’m Stephanie. I am 32-years old. Gonna be 33 soon. I also have Autism and I'm very excited about today, and I live in San Diego and I am glad to be here.
Cristina: My name is Cristina Mariotta. I live in Long Beach. I am 37-years old. I have Autism and we are disabled. I was in high school, I was in middle school, and elementary school.
Matthew: My name is Matthew Campano. I live in Long Beach California. I have Autism, and I’m an artist!
Alison: I’m Alison Salo and I have Cerebral Palsy
Brian: My name is Brian Corder
Heidi: My name is Heidi. I work for Able ARTS Work
Matthew: Hey Heidi
Heidi: Hi! I think- I don’t know. I lose track. I want to say 3 years I’ve been here. I’m a music therapist and I help run ArtBeat Radio.
Sydney: My name is Sydney. I am the virtual learning coordinator at Able ARTS Work and I have been here for almost 5 years now and I am an artist as well.
*laughter from group*
Savannah: Hi, I’m Savannah. I am a drama instructor
Matthew: Hi Savannah!
Savannah: Hi, Matthew! I am a drama instructor here at Able ARTS Work. I’ve been here for a little over a year, and I’m super excited to be here with Ya'll.
Renee: My name is Renee Morneau. I’m 38-years old. I’m Down’s Syndrome. I have lots of friends. I am a fulltime auntie. I have 2 nieces and 2 nephews.
Heidi: Renee, I noticed that you said you are Down’s Syndrome, and Stephanie, I noticed that you said you have Autism. Where one of you says, you know, you are something, one of you says you have something. Does anybody know what person-first language is?
Max: No, what is that?
Heidi: You said something which a lot of people call people-first language. You said, “I am- I have Autism” and not “I am Autistic”. So, I was wondering why you choose to say it that way or if you’ve ever thought about that?
Stephanie: I say it that way because I feel comfortable with saying that because I feel like even though I’m Autistic, I feel proud of that.
Heidi: Okay. Will you talk a little bit more about that, Stephanie?
Stephanie: I feel proud of being Autistic because it's just who I am!
Matthew: I’m a special artist teenager.
Heidi: Ooh, what do you mean by special?
Matthew: I’m special!
Sydney: What makes you special, Matthew?
Heidi: Tim, you were also somebody who chose to say that you have Autism instead of saying like, you are Autistic. Have you ever thought about that word?
Timothy: As a matter of fact, I take that back. I’m an Autistic. I don’t have like Autism. I just have a learning disability. I take that back.
Sydney: You have a right to take that back. May I ask why you choose to take it back?
Timothy: Well, I just don’t feel like I have Autism. It’s like I’m Autistic. That’s a better way for me to say it. So, I have a learning disability, so I learn things a little slower, but I pick up things a little bit quicker, you know? And I’m very much mature and I know how to be an adult.
Savannah: So, Tim. I notice that you’re using different language, so you said “I have a learning disability and “I am Autistic”. What's different between those two things for you?
Timothy: It just describes who I am.
Stephanie: There you go.
Heidi: Max, during your introduction you also said you have Autism. Would you like to talk a little bit about why you say it that way? And not that you’re Autistic?
Max: Oh, I guess I haven’t really thought about like the way I speak. Or, I suppose the way I say in like, when I have stuff like that.
Sydney: It’s just what comes naturally?
Max: Yeah, I guess. Maybe. I guess maybe, I guess I maybe have a fascination with stuff like I'm fascinated with learning things. I'm really into reading about history and stuff, and I’m also really into like writing and I really enjoy writing stuff down.
Heidi: It sounds like a lot of us really haven’t put too much thought into the language we use. It just feels like us and what's coming naturally.
Heidi: Okay. I guess I’m sort of wondering like, between saying “I’m disabled” or “I have a disability”, what would you prefer?
Alison: I have a disability
Brian: I have a disability
Sydney: Why do you choose that one over the other? There’s no wrong answer.
Brian: I just would feel more comfortable.
Heidi: What feels more comfortable about that? I’m wondering.
Brian: I don’t know I feel if I said that I’m disabled more than the other thing...
Sydney: It’s a hard question. It’s okay! Are you maybe feeling like you’d like to pick another adjective about yourself?
Brian: I feel like the one thing, disabled, I feel like one is too stifling.
Brian: I don’t know why I feel that way but-
Brian: I feel that it’s too stifling.
Sydney: Do you feel like by “stifling” you mean it’s just like a box?
Brian: Yeah. Plus, I had a mom who was too overprotective. I mean, we had a library right next to, well to our house, and mom wouldn’t let me cross Maple and it’s a teeny tiny distance. So, that’s why I felt like I was in that box.
Sydney: That makes sense.
Heidi: Almost like the way that other people treated you might have put you in that box?
Brian: And it made me so doggone frustrated with my mom. Given all, I love my mom, and I'm sure you feel the same way.
Heidi: I hear you
Alison: I’m sorry to say, I love my mom and dad but my dad would say don’t do that to Alison.
Brian: Look at me now. I’m making reservations on Access. Before the pandemic was here, I used to do that and I crossed the street to Monks.
Heidi: To Monks. Yep! You’re an independent man now!
Heidi: Well, real quick. I just want to swing it over to Max and Stephanie. I know you haven’t really had the chance to talk in a while. Is there anything you want to add? Anything that came into your mind about this. About disabilities or Autism or anything?
Stephanie: I want to say positive stuff about my Autism instead of negative stuff.
Max: Yeah! I haven’t really thought- yeah. I guess I don’t really think of it except the negative stuff. I guess I don’t think of the negative stuff. I guess some people don’t understand-can't understand- don't know that I’m Autistic. I guess some of the positives can- I guess I’m very creative *giggles* That’s what I’m thinking.
Heidi: Not so much the negatives but the positives and who you are. Well, folks. We are out of time. Is there anything else where you were like “ooh, I really wish I had said this”?
Alison: I do! I also have eye-hand coordination. It’s part of my Cerebral Palsy. Part of my Cerebral Palsy is that my eyes don’t see the way that they should and I can only use part of my left hand and I'm right-handed.
Heidi: Renee, I saw your hand up. Do you have one more quick thing to add?
Renee: I had my heart surgery before at my mom’s old work before and I was 5-years old.
Heidi: That’s a young age to have heart surgery.
Max: Yeah, that’s really young.
Stephanie: How are you doing now, Renee?
Renee: It’s really awesome!
Stephanie: Yeah, you feeling good?
Renee: Yeah, I know my identity. I have a great life.
Heidi: I think that’s a great note to end it on.
Max: Also, one more thing. I actually did some work on short films in high school for part of film class. Doing those is fun.
Heidi: Yeah, just speaking with your group - it's such a creative group of people, you folks. Alright, well thank you folx for joining! We’ll have to do this again.
Renee: I always have support of you guys.
Heidi: Well we’re happy to be here, Renee.
Renee: And my family too.
Alison: I like doing this.
Brian: I’ve got something to add. I want to thank you guys for being- being there for my support. So, I want to thank you, Renee for saying that so I could say what I had to say to Heidi.
Renee: You’re welcome!
Alison: I want to thank Heidi and everybody for helping me out.
Heidi: Alright folks, have a great weekend!
Max: Thank you.
Heidi: Have a great rest of your day. Thank you so much for joining and we’ll see ya’ll later!
Jillian: Comment and subscribe to our channel!
*ArtBeat Radio outro plays* I hope you enjoyed this installment of ArtBeat Radio. For more information, please go to our website, ableartswork.org. Thank you for listening and tune in next time!
You can catch up on Part One of the Identity series here. Listen to more ArtBeat Radio Podcasts on Spotify and Apple Podcasts. Learn more about identity and person-first or identity-first language in this post.
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.