By Susan Rabinowicz, PT, DPT, MS, PhD
Mr. Jacob Dixon, the Founder and CEO of Choice for All, a Long Island nonprofit, facilitated a conversation for the board members of the New York Zero-to-Three Network on April 19th, 2021. During his inspiring presentation, Mr. Dixon introduced participants to the concepts of intersectionality and ableism. He explained that “intersectionality is the framework for understanding different people’s varying experiences in the world.” As we apply the framework of intersectionality to our personal and professional lives, we will be taking into consideration how “systems of oppression and poverty connect, overlap and influence one another” (adapted from Learning for Justice: https://www.learningforjustice.org/magazine/summer-2016/teaching-
When using the framework of intersectionality, we reflect on how race and dis/ability overlap to shape the experiences of young children and families. The framework offers professionals a lens to contemplate how the intersection of families’ socioeconomic status, racial and ethnic backgrounds, and zip codes influence their experiences with early intervention services and the educational system. As members of an interprofessional workforce focusing on enhancing outcomes for infants, young children, and families, we are well placed, and challenged, to explore how the intersectionality of race, dis/ability and systemic oppression guides our work at the individual, community, and organizational levels.