Graphic: The Disability Rights and Independent Living Movement

Jacquelyn Brand

Audio transcript: On the philosophy of the Disabled Children’s Computer Group
Date: August 10, 1998
Interviewer: Denise Sherer Jacobson

Note: Transcripts have been lightly edited; therefore there may be slight discrepancies with audio clips.

And when we started DCCG, it was our idea that families, kids, adults, family members, knew what they needed, or at least what they want to accomplish. It wouldn't necessarily show up in an evaluation because if you didn't have the tools to work with, you couldn't necessarily demonstrate your capacity to use those tools, whereas all the rest of society was going to their local computer stores and buying whatever the heck they decided they wanted—sometimes making mistakes, sometimes knowing exactly what they wanted. People with disabilities were being told that there was a medical process to go through to get similar function. Yet another aspect of being a person with a disability was being medicalized.

It made no sense, so the idea was to say that the individual at the center of this process—whose decision about tools and goals was most important—was the individual with the disability—kid or adult. Our job was to pay attention to the desires that people expressed and to help provide, to support and facilitate that process, of that person getting the technology that they choose for the purposes they choose. That was a pretty radical notion and that was what the whole thing was all about.

Many of us who were founders of this whole process were those who had been victimized by the system which said, you know, you couldn't use this technology, you don't have the fine motor, you don't have the this, or you don't have the that. And you know, the whole point of technology was to say that all of those distinctions were no longer relevant because with the technology we could do things that couldn't have otherwise been done. But the value of self-determination, self-empowerment, a decision-making process centering on the individual and not around the therapist and the medical staff was what we were looking for.

End of transcript

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