People with intellectual disabilities or living with sensory processing disorder in Romania don’t have any access to cultural events. The performance is not adapted to their needs, the artists and managing staff don’t know how to interact with this type of audience. Thereby, the community of people living with neuro-cognitive disability is socially isolated, mostly at home, with very few daily social interactions at the therapy centers they are attending, if they are still children. The majority of them don’t have access to any form of tuition. For young people and adults the reality is even worse.
In this context, their only chance to enjoy an artistic performance and to improve their intellectual and psycho-emotional state remains the unidirectional use of TV or the internet.
We wanted to change this. We kept looking for solutions and learning from everywhere and everyone, we send dozens of emails, asking for advice. Hereupon, since 2017 people with intellectual disabilities in Romania can enjoy sensory friendly film screenings, music concerts, interactive play or storytelling events, in partnership with artist and cultural managers who also believe that accessibility is a right, not a question.
The time for us to share what we have learned for the past five years has come: we are planning a conference in March 2019, 2 days of exchanging knowledge & ideas of making art accessible for everyone, in Bucharest, Romania. Our main guest is Professor Roger Ideishi, the one we learned most of all we know. We will have two days to meet and to share experiences about the solutions that can be applied to facilitate the access to culture for people with disabilities. Parents of children with special needs, cultural managers, cultural trainers, artists and occupational therapists - are all invited to discuss the issues we are facing and to seek for practical solutions together.
We would also like to launch three methodological tools (print and online) for creators of disability friendly cultural programs.
All the events we have organized so far have been possible through the donations of our readers at Supereroi Printre Noi (150 € monthly). Somehow, we managed to do all the work only with two people and casual volunteers. But now there is a need for a bigger team and a lot of other things to do, with the logistics and the organization of a two-day conference: room rental, translators, printed materials, coffee break, communication, organization, etc.
The main hosts will be:
*Roger Ideishi, the director of occupational therapy at Temple University in Philadelphia. He works to provide community access and opportunities for children with diverse sensory and cognitive abilities. More about the speaker, here: https://goo.gl/jhXMq6
*Ruxandra Mateescu, mother of three, one of them living with an undiagnosed rare genetical condition. Founder at Supereroi Printre Noi ( Superheroes Among Us), a disability storytelling website. Creator of cultural programs for people with intellectual disabilities.
Every donation counts and will enable us to help change the lives of Romanian people with intellectual disabilities through art and culture.