It is the last day of our three day conference and we began with two fantastic presentations from Professor Hans Reinders and Dr. Sam Kabue.
Professor Hans Reinders is the Chair of Ethics at VU University, Amsterdam, Netherlands and he discussed with us today the importance of friendship. Reinders discussed the profound impact friendship can have on someone with an intellectual disability, stating that “often friendship is missing from their lives”.
Reinders discussed the many aspects of friendship and the theories surrounding how friendships are formed. He went on to say that friendship is what it takes to be truly connected to someone somewhat different to ourselves. He said that those people with intellectual disabilities who experience friendship “blossom”.
Dr. Samuel Kabue presented on the importance of including disability/theology in the curriculum of theological institutions. Kabue discussed his work on the development of a generic curriculum on disability studies. He spoke of his passion to ‘infuse’ the message across various institutions so that change could be made.
This was discussed further with a panel of speakers. Mrs Karenne Hills, Counselling Course Coordinator, Christian Heritage College, Brisbane spoke of her own experience. Hills is a mother of two children with disabilities and has worked incredibly hard to raise awareness about the importance of teaching others about disabilities and ensuring people with disabilities could have access to education within Christian Heritage College.
She concluded her speech with a very moving acknowledgement that her son had now completed five units of a course all with credits and distinctions. Hills said her son felt like he had “been included and achieved a life dream”. The audience was truly moved by Hills’ story and applauded her efforts and her son’s in their journey towards greater awareness and education.