The Questions We Ask

We can learn a lot from the practice known as Appreciative Inquiry. One of the core principles of that practice is this: we live into the questions that we ask. And this aligns really nicely with what we do in our field with positive futures planning. We live into the questions that we ask. Here’s how this applies this works for us beyond the planning that we do in organizaing supports for people with disabities and how you can apply it to you day-do-day work. So, let’s say that your helping a young woman named Karne who lives in he wonderful town of Canterury New Hampshire and she shares her hopes and dreams with us. One of them is that she will learn how to ride horses. In helping her you have to answer some questions. One could be; “where do people with down syndrome learn to ride horses?”. Another could be; “where do people who live in Canterbury who love horses, learn to ride and enjoy this common love?” Which question you ask will result in very different outcomes. The first could result in a fun activity that Karen looks forward to and enjoys the company. People might say; do you know that great kid in special program that they run in Canterbury? However, the other could result in meeting others who are really great at horseback riding who she could watch and learn from. She’d be known as a member of a fairly exclusive group. She would meet people who might share other interests that she has in common but haven’t been sparked yet; and perhaps imagine hopes and dreams that have never occured to her before. She’d be exposed to others with a ready made network of relationships and maybe get entangled in the web of caring and love. People might say; do you know Karen, that kid with a great sense of humor? When you work each day supporting someone who experiences disabilities, which type of questions are you going to ask? We live into the questions we ask. And your choices can change peoples lives forever.

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