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Happy New Year! Welcome to this week's issue of the Birthday Workbook. As we enter 2021, let's reflect on how we might make Singapore a more inclusive society, including for those of us who live with disabilities of various forms. Today, we read an essay by Autistic artist Dawn-Joy Leong (Dawn-Joy prefers the use of Identity-first language to describe her disability; feel free to read more here.) 

Before you read her essay, watch the following video.
Video credit: Channel News Asia
  • What assumptions have you had about people living with autism? Do you know anyone who lives with autism?
  • What kinds of challenges might caregivers face in caring for people who live with autism?
Now read the following article:
Read on TODAY
Consider the following questions:
  1. Why did Dawn-Joy's impression of Singapore change so drastically? Have you ever had a similar experience of changing your mind as a result of a personal experience? 
  2. Why was it inappropriate for "non-disabled people claiming to be disability experts" to correct Dawn-Joy in her use of self-identifying terminology? 
  3. Why do you think people expect artists and community leaders to give talks for free? Do you think this is fair? 
  4. Why is it important for disabled people to be represented in the leadership of disabled groups? In your view, can and should non-disabled people represent disabled people? 
  5. Dawn-Joy uses the word "neurodivergent" to describe the artists of the Disabled Artists' Collective. Do some research on what neurodivergent means, and briefly explain how it might challenge our perspectives on disability. 
  6. How has disability enabled Dawn-Joy to "see Singapore more clearly"? How might her insights apply to issues beyond disability?
  7. Disability might sometimes be invisible, as in the case of Dawn-Joy. What challenges might this pose? 
Further resources
Can't get enough of the Birthday Collective? We recently launched the Birthday Book Junior: 20/20, which contains 55 essays by young writers. Copies are selling fast, so click here to purchase a copy! 

We also recently announced the winners of The Cobblestone Project, a Minecraft World Building Challenge we organized in collaboration with Check out some of the winning entries on our Facebook page

That's all from us this week. All the best for the start of the year! 

© 2021 The Birthday Collective

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