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Listen 2 Us - Literacy, Self-Determination, and Interdependence for Nonspeakers

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In the news...

2017Peabody Award for film Deej
05/22/2018Connections: Discussing the Reel Mind Theatre and Film Series
05/28/2018Bloom Blog - The film Deej upends what you think you know about disability
08/08/2018Psychology Today, “Fresh Thinking on Autism: The Documentary Film “Deej” Challenges Us All to Live Inclusion”
by Jason Tougaw
10/02/2019 The world according to DJ Savarese, Hani Elkadi, Writers Group . In celebration of Iowa City Book Festival week, we are sharing Iowa City-based artist and writer Hani Elkadi's poetic profile of author DJ Savarese. We hope you enjoy this literary endeavor.
DSQ vol.30 2010Cultural Commentary: Communicate with Me by DJ Savarese
Spring, 2017Iowa Review - Passive Plants
11/28/2018ASAN Gala Speech by DJ Savarese
  
  

Holland Bloorview Kid's Rehabilitation Hospital Bloom Blog:

  • Excerpt from the interview: The film Deej upends what you think you know about disability

BLOOM: What advice would you give to parents of a child who can’t speak, especially if they have an intellectual disability?

DJ Savarese: Visit my website at Listen2Us, and keep visiting it all summer as I finish it. Ask yourself how you can possibly know your child has an intellectual disability if you aren’t able to understand what they know. Try all kinds of communication with them: photographs, words, AAC, sign language.
Read to them a lot and ask them questions using answer banks. New ideas keep us from getting locked in our old ones.

BLOOM: Do you think we can learn from people who have intellectual disabilities? Is there value to all kinds of neurodiversity?

DJ Savarese: There is value in every person, but I reject the term "intellectually disabled." It's a figment of the ableist's limited—and limiting—imagination.

Psychology Today“Fresh Thinking on Autism: The Documentary Film “Deej” Challenges Us All to Live Inclusion” by Jason Tougaw

At its core, Deej asks viewers to be their dear selves, to become fresh thinkers, to mold the world free. I asked him in an interview what advice he has for people who want to advocate full inclusion: “Interdependence is my model. Make sure all members of the community feel needed. We all need to feel loved and included—not just nonspeaking kids. Ask yourself why sad selves can’t get free from anxiety. Learning is not hard, but it requires a sense of commitment. It’s not always easy, but we all love being a necessary part of something bigger than ourselves, and when we are, the community—and each of us—is better for it.”

Deej Highlights Interdependence, Challenges Assumptions  The Oberlin College Review, October 6, 2017