Meeting the professionals
It is always helpful to hear from people who work in the sectors we study. We learn theories in class, we discuss what issues people may face in their everyday lives. But nothing can beat listening to real-life stories and experiences in person. On 9 December 2019, the Sociology Programme and Careers Service jointly organised the ‘Learning from Practitioners’ session for the Disability and Society module.
Joining second-year sociology students were four professionals from four different organisations: Blue Apple Theatre, the National Autistic Society, Disable People’s Voice, and Ambitious About Autism. Two of them have physical disabilities themselves and one has a son who has Autistic Spectrum Disorder. So, disability is a topic very close to their hearts.
We started the session with the professionals speaking of their backgrounds and the work they do with disabled people. Passion and enthusiasm were abundant in their talks. They really do care about the lives of disabled people – both children’s and adults’ – and want to help them live independently and improve their quality of life.
The second part was the small group discussion. Groups of students sat with the professionals and discussed real-life challenges that disabled people face – challenges identified by the professionals beforehand. They talked of what issues disabled people have and students discussed what society could do to improve such situations.
We ended the session with a talk by our Faculty Employability Adviser on careers in the disability sector.
This was such a constructive and encouraging way of learning; hearing real-life examples of disability, and discussing certain issues in an in-depth manner, were valuable experiences for everyone in the session. It was also really helpful to receive thoughtful careers advice from the practitioners.
Lecturer in Sociology