Recommended Reading for February 11th
Warning: Offsite links are not safe spaces. Articles and comments in the links may contain ableist, sexist, and other -ist language and ideas 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 material like extreme violence/rape; however, your triggers/issues may vary, so please read with care.
Marian E. Lupo: Bringing Back the Baby Lion: Reflections on the Conference on Disability, Culture, and Human Rights, Disability Studies Quarterly, Vol 29, No 4 (2009)
The question I began my presentation with is a question still with us: “We have global poverty, we have global disability, but we also have global resources. Who has those global resources?” I would suggest, as one source, the multinational corporations, which now occupy the historical space of unjust wealth carved out by the East India Company.
I say unjust because the wealth owned by these entities is premised and accumulated based on the human body as commodity, as object. Those already disabled are a disvalued commodity. The process of extracting economic “value” from other bodies all too often produces “disability,” and a devaluation of the now exhausted commodity. Thus, once the value of these bodies is used up, they are discarded. In the U.S., more value may be extracted from the exhausted commodity through the cold-blooded ingenuity of the profiteering insurance industry.
My suggestion is that disability is a given of the human condition, not an economic exception. Thus, the equitable distribution of resources is not a privilege to be earned, but the most basic component of human rights. Basic respect for the disabled means respect for the inherent fragility and mutability of the human body.
Wicked Local Cambridge: Letter: Don’t deny access for handicapped
Imagine a woman in a wheelchair, trapped in her home, with no way to get in or out. No, this is not a scene from a horror movie; it’s the daily reality of Lesa Dane.
Trapped in her home for more than three weeks, Lesa, a paraplegic, was recently denied a building permit for a chairlift to be put in her second-floor condo by the city’s building commissioner — more concerned with whether the chair might obstruct a stairwell than the safety of a disabled woman who suffered a crippling autoimmune disease that left her in a wheelchair. […] The commissioner stated her application would not be approved unless she had a 6-foot-wide staircase.
The company that administers the California bar exam has asked a federal appeals court to stop a blind law student from using computer-assisted reading devices in the test, which starts in two weeks. […] Enyart works as a law clerk for Disability Rights Advocates in Berkeley and would suffer no hardship by waiting a few months for an appeals court to review the case, the company said. […]
Enyart, 32, has been legally blind since 15 from macular degeneration and retinal dystrophy. As a UCLA law student, she took tests on a laptop with software that magnified the text and read the questions into earbuds. […]
The examiners offered a pencil-and-paper test with questions displayed on a large screen, a human reader and twice the usual three-day testing period. Enyart said she would become nauseous from having to look at the screen and needed the computer setup to have a fair chance of passing.
MSNBC: Different colors describe happiness, depression: Study could help doctors gauge moods of patients with verbal challenges [I wonder how culture-bound this is? ~L]
The study found that people with depression or anxiety were more likely to associate their mood with the color gray, while happier people preferred yellow. The results, which are detailed today in the journal BMC Medical Research Methodology, could help doctors gauge the moods of children and other patients who have trouble communicating verbally.
In a move that could potentially change mental health practice all over America, the American Psychiatric Association has announced that it intends to include a new diagnosis in its upcoming fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual — and hopes that new label will be used by clinicians instead of the bipolar label. The condition will be called temper dysregulation disorder, and it will be seen as a brain or biological dysfunction, but not as a necessarily lifelong condition like bipolar.
Telegraph.co.uk: Patients in ‘vegetative’ state can think and communicate
Experts using brain scans have discovered for the first time that [a minority of] victims, who show no outward signs of awareness, can not only comprehend what people are saying to them but also answer simple questions. […]
The patient was then asked six simple biographical questions including what was the name of his father and whether he had any sisters. In each case, his thoughts were picked up by the scans within five minutes. In each case he was 100 per cent accurate. […]
Jacob Appel, an expert in medical ethics at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, said that doctors should help end the lives of people trapped in their bodies, if they think that is what they want.
[Note that there is nothing in this article suggesting that the technique might be used to drive assistive/communicative technology to improve the quality of life of the few people who could use it. There is only the rush to use the tech to find out whether people want to die.]