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Circle of Difference

Circle of Difference is an interactive game for people with intellectual disabilities to learn about inclusion, appreciating difference & diversity.

The setting
The Circle of Difference is designed for use with people with mild-moderate intellectual disabilities.

Minimum: 6 participants.
Maximum: As many as you like – in a theatre style setting.

Facilitation tips

  • Set respectful ground rules before starting (ie. one person talks at a time, no “put-down” comments)
  • Keep it positive and fun – yet allowing for reflection
  • Have consent from people before they play
  • Use inclusive language
  • Help people take time to feel what it feels like to be different
  • Help people celebrate the differences, and the “sameness” with cheers and applause
  • Move at a pace that works for the group and repeat things when necessary
  • Allow people to ask questions as necessary, and direct them back to the focus of the game
  • It’s best to have a person with an intellectual disability read out the statements. A supportive staff is on hand to help explain the instructions to the group.

How to play
Gather a group of people with intellectual disabilities who would like to play.
Explain that the Circle of Difference is a game to learn about how we are different, and how we are the same.

If you have room for it, everyone can gather in a circle. When they hear a statement they agree with, they are to move to the centre of the circle. They can roll their wheelchairs, or walk into the centre. When in the centre of the circle, prompt people to feel what it feels like to be in the centre of the circle, or on the outside of the circle, how it is to be different. After they have a moment to reflect, they then they move back to the circle and wait to hear the next statement.

The game can also be played at a table or in theatre style seating by communicating “YES” after each statement.

Tell participants that they will be showing you how they communicate “YES” when they agree with a statement that is read. Remind people that many of us have different ways of communicating. Give examples: some people blink their eyes for yes, some people use sign language, some people use assistive devices, and some use words. On the count of three, have everyone show you their “YES”.

Then explain for everyone to listen carefully to the reader (Someone with an intellectual disability ideally) who will read statements out one at a time.
A series of statements are read out loud one at a time – with a pause for people to respond if they agree. Prompt people to show their “yes” if they agree.
The list of statements was created by people with an intellectual disability. (Feel free to add to our statements or change them to increase inclusiveness for your particular group). All the statements are related to self-image, identity and difference.

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