Recommended Reading for January 28th

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.

two sled hockey playersThe Big Picture: Fire and Ice

Image caption: “Sled hockey player Nikko Landeros, of Berthoud, Colorado (right), takes part in a scrimmage with Tyler Carron in the Boulder Valley YMCA in Lafayette Colorado on January 2nd, 2010. Three years ago, high school wrestlers Landeros and Carron lost their legs when they were hit by a car while changing a flat tire. It didn’t take long for Landeros to pick up sled hockey, and he’ll be competing in Vancouver in the Paralympics. Carron is on the junior national team.”

Image description: “Two sled hockey players on the ice on low, metal, skateboard-sized sleds. Their gloved hands hold metal poles used to steer and to strike the puck. Both wear helmets. Landeros wears a Colorado Avalanche jersey and Carron a white USA jersey. Both men intently look at and seem to move toward the puck in the ice between them.”

Cat in a Dog’s World: Book Review Series: The Ethics of Autism

But I have to say that I find these kinds of questions incredibly irritating and dehumanizing. Autistic people do not need non-autistic people (using simplistic schematics of autism devised by other non-autistic people) to theorize in order to recognize our humanity or membership to “the moral community” […] Why is our personhood and right to autonomy up for debate?

Even if Barnbaum does have some (peculiar) kind of pro-neurodiversity sentiment, her project seems to be entirely misconceived. She starts with presumptions which treat autistic people and non-autistic people as beings from separate planets, are overly simplistic, and are silencing of autistic voices.

Prof Susurro: Want Ad For Feminist Revolution Pt. I

During that meeting, she disclosed that, like me, she has a hidden disability that in no way impacts her ability to do the job for which she was hired. […]

By the time she reached home, her offer of hire had been rescinded on the basis that she might “put youth in danger” and “serious concerns about her ability to come to work on time.” My friend was dumb-founded and has been silently weighing her options all the while feeling completely dehumanized by an all white, all female, “feminist”, “social justice”, agency who didn’t skip a beat in hiring a white able-bodied female to replace her. LCA: HackAbility

Bright purple hair seems certain to make Liz Henry distinct from the crowd, but it’s another attribute that she came to 2010 to talk about: her wheelchair. […]

Disability-friendly software, too, is not an easy hack; accessibility tends to be treated as a last-minute add-on. Web site accessibility, too, is often an afterthought, and tends to be user-focused. This approach tends to lead to sub-standard solutions, but it also fails to lead to a free, do-it-yourself culture. We need good accessibility for developers too. […]

As an example of good and bad ways of doing things, Liz contrasted the Free Wheelchair Mission and Whirlwind Wheelchair International. The former makes dirt-cheap wheelchairs out of lawn chairs and bicycle wheels, then ships them by the container load to poor countries. It seems like a good idea, but dumping all those cheap chairs devastates any local market that may have developed. When the chairs break (which tends to happen soon), there’s nobody left to help keep them going. Whirlwind, instead, is focused on partnering with local industry and sharing information, creating a more hackable solution with more people to hack on it.

Patricia E Bauer: Shriver to Emanuel: Let’s work together to end ‘R-word’

In the wake of a news report that the White House chief of staff used the words “f–g retarded” in a strategy session, Special Olympics chairman Timothy Shriver called on Rahm Emanuel to join his campaign to stamp out the “R-word.”

Shriver’s letter to Emanuel [PDF], released today, said the terms “retard” and “retarded” perpetuate stereotypes and stigma against people with intellectual disabilities, and are “just as painful as any number of racial or ethnic slurs, jokes or taunts that society has committed to eradicating from our lexicon.”

The Irish Times: Half of all adults with a disability have trouble coping with daily tasks – study

More than half of all adults living with a disability say they have experienced difficulties going shopping, getting away for a holiday, taking part in community life and socialising in public venues, according to a new study. […]

While some adults with a disability said they had made improvements to their home to help assist them carry out tasks on their own, 52 per cent of adults in private households said a lack of money meant they were unable to adapt their homes.