Recommended Reading for November 27

via Elizabeth Kissling at re:Cycling: Mental Illness in Academe

The first question you must ask yourself is whether to tell your chair and dean. I can think of arguments both in favor of that, and against.

One of the pluses would be the psychological benefits of not having a secret and being able to be open. More practically you might be able to get extra support, or formal accommodations under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). You would serve as a model for other academics in your department and your students.

There are, of course, real pitfalls to telling, too. There is a tremendous stigma, still, around mental illness. People may believe, consciously or not, that you are unreliable or even dangerous, and they may fear you. They may think you can’t do the work or your scholarship isn’t good, even if it is very good. That may not be intentional on their part but can nonetheless have a big impact on your work life and your prospects for tenure.

Quickhit: Athlete Kurt Fearnley lambastes abusive Jetstar wheelchair policy

There are lots and lots and lots of problems with the way people with disabilities are treated while travelling. This is just one of them.

Talking About FSD – How Not To (Part 2)

But because folks like she and I exist, people with “Real” medical problems (and here I’m using quotes because I’m not comfortable with claiming my problems are more real & valid than anyone else’s, just because I can back mine up with medical records, which have also been and will continue to have their value questioned anyway,) we are putting everyone else at risk of exploitation by Big Pharma. Because I want treatment for my sexual health problems, I bear the responsibility & burden of enabling Big Pharma sneaking its phallic tendrils into all of our bedrooms & regulating our sexuality. That regulation might come in pill form designed to increase our libidios – but never too much, for if we become too sexual, too promiscuous, we may just be diagnosed with the dreaded Restless Vagina Syndrome.

I was really curious; is Big Pharma really trying to develop and then exploit a new, fake disease, by piggybacking on something that sounds similar to restless leg syndrome? (Only, it’s the vagina that’s restless.) What is this?


Digital inclusion, disabled audiences and web accessibility through personalisation

There are 11 million adults in the UK with a long standing health problem or disability that affects their daily activities including their ability to work – and therefore covered by the Disability Discrimination Act. Of these, according to research from the Office for Disability Issues, 47% are over 65 and 43% are unemployed. Startlingly, 58% have never used the Internet.

Jonathan talked about the various barriers to disabled people getting online including lack of interest, lack of means and lack of confidence. These are the same reasons as for the population at large. BBC research into encouraging broadband adoption echoes the experiences of Martha Lane Fox. They focussed on the 21% of UK adults who do not have the Internet at home or use elsewhere. The figures are similar: 10.5 million aged 15+ with and average age of 61 (over half were 65+) and 67% are C2DE compared with 45% of the UK population.

Only one in five disabled students has received vital funding [UK]

Government statistics released today show that the SLC has so far distributed £43m less in funding than last year, despite an unprecedented rise in student numbers – and applications for grants and loans – in the past 12 months.

The Guardian has learned that more than 12,000 disabled students have also been left without vital funding for specialist equipment and to pay fees for personal helpers. Campaigners are now claiming progress is so slow that it would take 75 weeks to clear the backlog.

3 Comments

  1. I wrote a piece about Kurt Fearnley’s airport protest on my own blog here: http://suryaofvulcan.livejournal.com/84992.html

  2. I have a mental health disablility so this comment covers two posts – on being in academe and on UK funding. I did “come out” (as I see it) and I got funding really quickly and easily, plus computer and stuff. 🙂 But it took a while for people to not give off that watching you vibe and some of them never did. 🙁 This was rather gendered too, other women being more open. Also there were a number of bipolar members of the faculty. Which helped. What was very unhelpful though was what Sara Ahmed talks about – the difference between narrative (policy) and performativity (delivery) and ultimately I did not completed the course. (MA) I was still offered a place on the PhD which says something, I guess, but in the end I just couldn’t face all the hassle involved in levelling my own playing field. It was a whole other module….
    Thanks for this blog, I shall return.

  3. Government statistics released today show that the SLC has so far distributed £43m less in funding than last year, despite an unprecedented rise in student numbers – and applications for grants and loans – in the past 12 months.

    The Guardian has learned that more than 12,000 disabled students have also been left without vital funding for specialist equipment and to pay fees for personal helpers. Campaigners are now claiming progress is so slow that it would take 75 weeks to clear the backlog.

    🙁 This is me (and 11,999 others, obviously). I have yet to receive funding assisistive devices and software which I need. I applied for this funding in April.

    I was also told I was not eligible for a student loan due to having previously been to university. I’d dropped out for medical reasons. As soo as I realised this, I phoned the helpline and afterseveral hours on hold, was told they would sort it out “within a few days”. It took three months to get them to agree that I had “compelling peronal reasons” for dropping out and the whole process didn’t help my still-fragile physical and mental health. Jerks.

    Oh, and they tried to fine my bf over a thousand pounds for an administrative error that was their fault and not his.