I came to this project with no palpable expectations, but with a strong desire to improve myself and the way I am in the world. I didn’t have any prior experience in working with people with disabilities and I haven’t interacted with them for before this experience.
For me, the biggest realization I had was that we are, as individuals, the sole creators of prejudices and barriers between us and other people. I think that when I came here I had certain misconceptions and fears about not knowing how to act towards a person with disability, and participating in this workshop helped me understand that there is no difference in terms of human relations, only a difference in the type of language we use to communicate between us. I have learnt that in most cases body language works much better than a thousand words, a hug or a smile worth more than trying to reach a common verbal language; that movement and body intelligence are as valid and valuable as any other communicational and relational tools, and that I should pay more attention to them and focus more on that.
I also learned that, for me, the successful trainer is the one that has in mind all the time the framework of the entire project, but allows enough freedom during the activities so that everybody can express freely, without feeling judged or inferior to other people. I also began to consider the importance of daily reflection moments and individual feedback within a group, as well as the continuous adjusting and improvement from the part of the trainer.
In this moment, I feel much more rich both as a person and as a professional. I believe I acquired a better vision of what it means to be a trainer, and about how to work effectively with large groups or mixed ability groups. I have a better hold on how to organize activities and how to structure their content, how to estimate their duration and the needs of people, how to listen to everybody and how to make everyone feel comfortable, open and trusting to other participants.
Besides this, I also gained a deeper insight into my motivations, my pluses and minuses, my natural ways of working and interacting with other people. I believe this is important because they can strongly influence the development of a workshop for better or for worst, so by being aware of them I can turn them into positive elements.
All in all, this has been an incredible experience for me during which I grew up and became more skillful and more aware of myself, my qualities and the points that I need to improve.
I feel really grateful to have met so many wonderful and inspiring people!