Recommended Reading for January 21st
Warning: Offsite links are not safe spaces. Articles and comments in the links may contain ableist, sexist, and other -ist language of varying intensity. Opinions expressed in the articles may not reflect the opinions held by the compiler of the post. I attempt to provide extra warnings for certain material present in articles, but your triggers/issues may vary.
The Baltimore Sun: Young, gifted and disabled
This was the summer of 2003, and she had recently graduated from college, was studying for the LSAT and browsing the store’s magazine selections. There were magazines for bikers and hikers, runners, travelers, eaters, golfers — just about every category of person one could think of, except disabled people, a group to which Roberson has belonged since she was born with a rare condition that contracts joints throughout the body, dislocates hips, locks the jaw. […]
She took it on. She saw the need for a magazine and decided she’d produce one. She called it “i.d.e.a.l.,” an acronym for “Individuals with Disabilities Express About Life,” and put the emphasis on young disabled people.[…]
Along with reported stories, Roberson contributed a first-person piece about how her disability and her bisexuality complicate her personal life. It’s the sort of frank treatment of the lives of disabled people that she feels has been missing from available publications, and was missing even from the first two issues of “i.d.e.a.l.”
“I’m my own worst critic,” she said. “I don’t think it was as relatable to me” in her life as a disabled person. Her hope is that disabled people reading the new magazine will find their lives reflected in it, “so people will disabilities can say ‘Oh my God, I’m not the only one going through this.’ “
Su Sayer at The Guardian: Politicians must recognise that people with learning disabilities have a right to vote too
Yet when it comes to democratic rights, the overwhelming majority of adults with learning disabilities still find themselves largely excluded by the complexity of the system and low awareness of their right to vote. Our research found that while 80% of people supported by United Response in England were registered to vote in the 2005 election, only 16% used their vote. This compares with a turnout of 61% in the general population.
As regular users of social services, public transport, health services and much more, people with learning disabilities are affected by political decisions in the same way as everyone else. The majority of adults with learning disabilities do have the capacity, as well as the legal right, to vote, and would like to do so if given the opportunity.
Ethan Ellis at NJ Voices Public Blog: Disability: the hidden horror of Haiti
Those of us with disabilities who know the island also know that after the last body is buried, the last hospital is rebuilt and the country begins to come alive again as its rescuers move on to the next disaster and the eyes of the watching world move with them, that people like us, now multiplied by the earthquake’s crush will be buried under the crushing weight of the country’s other unmet priories.
“Cardiovascular disease is the major cause of death and a leading cause of disability among Canadian women,” said Dr. Arlene Bierman, a physician at St. Michael’s Hospital and principal investigator of the study. “In fact, eight times as many Canadian women die from heart disease and stroke every year as from breast cancer. If we’re going to change this we need prevention programs that reach out to low income women and that focus on the effects of poverty and the factors that lead to poverty among women.”
The Telegraph (UK): Hi-tech prosthetics are getting our injured back on their feet
Historically, war has provided a great spur to technological development in prosthetics. Before the First World War, amputations were comparatively rare in Britain and most artificial limbs were primitive objects made by saddlers. […] The sudden influx of 41,300 young military amputees, many hoping to return to some sort of employment after the war, generated a new prosthetics industry and encouraged co-operation between limb-fitters and surgeons for the first time.
[Jerome Church said]: “But the warfare of the past eight years in Iraq and Afghanistan has produced a paradigm shift in the way we consider prosthetic possibilities.”
[Ian Jones, prosthetics manager said] “With a BK [below knee] injury there is no reason why a soldier should not return to front-line infantry. Some will be as fit as anyone else.
The Michigan Daily: Silently Disabled: The everyday struggles of those with invisible disabilities
It wasn’t until a week before the end of the academic year that [Leslie Rott] was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and lupus — a chronic inflammatory disease that attacks the body’s tissues and organs. Rott said she was unsure of what accommodations she would be entitled to going into her second year. Unlike those who have lived most of their lives with disabilities, she had no previous experience as a disabled individual and didn’t even know how to go about asking for accommodations. […]
Felder, who is fairly upfront about her Crohn’s disease, says that despite her attempts to inform her classmates about her disability, she has received less-then-ideal reactions as sometimes, students “literally scoot their chairs away” when she talks about the disease in class.
There is also, at times, the issue of other students thinking accommodations means disabled students are getting “special treatment.” For example, LSA sophomore Sarah Rabinowe, who was diagnosed with two learning disabilities in the beginning of elementary school, said her classmates often judge her for getting accommodations because they don’t understand how difficult it is to live with her disability.
“I’ve had a little bit here of ‘she gets special treatment, she gets this,’ the sort of jealousy, almost, because they don’t understand how hard it is to live with this,” Rabinowe said.[…]
Though some members of the disabled community would like the University to take a larger role in advocating for and raising awareness of disabilities on campus, SSWD “acts under a philosophy of self-advocacy,” Segal said. “In other words, part of what we’re trying to do is turn people into young, responsible, independent adults, and part of the way of doing that is making people advocate for themselves,” Segal said.
Part of this notion of self-advocacy includes changing the campus’s perception of the disabled community without the University’s help. For example, if individuals want peer mentors or support groups, it’s their responsibility to make that happen. Likewise, if individuals sense a stigma associated with disabilities on campus, the disabled community must find a voice within itself to raise awareness of disability issues rather than rely on the University to make this change for them.