When Roger Ideishi sent his graduate students into the Philadelphia community more than a decade ago to identify areas of need, they found a huge gap in access for families of children with disabilities.
“Families [had] been telling us that they don’t feel welcome in the community. They are often scrutinized and judged by the public—and not only by the public, but also by public institutions and organizations in the community,” explains Ideishi, director of the College of Public Health’s Occupational Therapy program. “When the family comes to a public space and their child or loved one is acting differently than how the rest of the public or society may act, they often will get judged, they’ll get scrutinized, they will often be asked to leave, which then makes it a very unwelcoming space.”
Since then, Ideishi, who came to Temple four years ago, has focused much of his energy on breaking down barriers and creating welcoming spaces for those families through partnering with cultural and arts institutions to provide education and training.