Spoon Theory: When Inclusion Designs for the Invisible Disability

In the article where I define the concept Inclusive Tourism I wrote:

Access might be sufficient for survival. Only inclusion allows the joy of participation.

I went on to define Inclusive Tourism as:

...the systematic application of Universal Design by the travel and hospitality industry at every stage of its product, service, and policy life cycle. It starts by looking at real people as they exist in all their diversity of abilities. It looks at them at all stages of the human life cycle: children, adults, and seniors.

Christine Miserandino was once faced with the challenge of describing real people as they 
exist -- herself. She created what is now known as Spoon Theory. 

In the process she gave the world a new tool for increasing the joy of participation.

Paradoxically, it resulted from the insight that even her best friend was able to only superficially participate in her invisible disability - Lupus. 

Who would have imagined the reciprocity of inclusion? Who would have thought that the need of a person without a disability to participate in the pain of her friend would generate the Springboard Story known as the Spoon Theory allowing that pain of isolation to become the joy of participation in a disability?

Spoon Theory is only one creative act arising from two people gazing at disability aversion until it dissolves. Others we have noted here include:

Each is a cultural product of the disability community. Each is given freely for the purpose of social transformation.

While this bullet point, Spoon Theory, will become an essential part of all my future talks on Inclusive Tourism it was written by Christine Miserandino as early as 2007. Stilll timely it only came to my attention yesterday through travel writer Liz Hamill Scott

Add the Spoon Theory metaphor to your active vocabulary. It will give a human face to your explanations of the practice of Universal Design as it underlies Inclusive Tourism:


 Click here to download "The Spoon Theory" in PDF format.

Read more about Liz Hamill Scott's emerging contributions to Inclusive Tourism in the post "Travel and Chronic Pain":

Pain is a silently isolating disability. It changes everything while nothing apparent is different.

Then re-read "What is Inclusive Tourism" in light of Christine's illumination of invisible disabilities affecting stamina; in light of "spoon sustainability."

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