Recommended Reading for April 2, 2010

A metal plate covered in braille

Accessible Information is Understandable

You can present information in Braille, large print, Sign Language, or easy read, but it will still be useless if it cannot be understood.

Once again we are talking about clear and straightforward communication, familiar language, jargon free text and information that is well structured and easy to follow. This is true whether the information is presented in a web site that has clearly understandable navigation and other interactions such as forms, or in any other format.

An Education

I’m worried about dropping out of school at some point. And part of that is because I like education. Which is a valid reason to feel worry about not being able to complete it. But part of that, part of it is because of the enormous social pressure to succeed in this environment. Part of it is the society telling me that if I can’t handle university, the problem is with me not wanting it hard enough, or not trying hard enough. The problem is me, not the system that isn’t set up to accommodate more than one (fairly specific) type of learning. And it’s really hard not to internalize those messages, even if you know about the problems with them. It’s hard not to buy into something you see everywhere.

Cybernetic Space Princess on Mars.

Because I am very functional, and because the standard image of “someone with OCD” is Adrian Monk or Hannelore, I do occasionally have to deal with people assuming I’m exaggerating. I don’t compulsively wash my hands or clean my kitchen, I’m definitely not a germaphore, and if I re-type books completely between drafts, well, that’s just a quirk. But obsession and compulsion both take many forms, and while I have found peace with mine, and consider them a vital part of who I am, that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. (Why I would joke about having something that is considered a mental illness, I don’t know.)

Remember that just because someone is a functional, relatively normal-seeming human being, that doesn’t mean they’re wired the way that you are. I have to remind myself that not everybody wants their day broken down into fifteen-minute increments, because for me, that is the norm. The human mind is an amazing thing, full of possibilities, and each of us expresses them differently. I am a cybernetic space princess from Mars, and that’s not a choice I made; that’s the way I was made. I can get an address on Earth, but Mars will always be my home.

The next Disability Carnival is at River of Jordan, and the theme is Balance.

In the news (just headlines today, all from the US):
Short Bursts of Activity Ease Fibromyalgia

Grieving Kettleman City mothers tackle a toxic waste dump – Each had miscarried or given birth to a child with birth defects. Their pain gave them strength to fight for justice.

A Pennsylvania government study commission has proposed legal reforms to curtail power-of-attorney abuses that have cheated the elderly, the disabled and their heirs.

Retired couples may need $250k for health care

3 thoughts on “Recommended Reading for April 2, 2010

  1. So yesterday, the school paper just published my letter to the editor.

    Sigh, sez I. Oh well, at least my name’s in the paper. I’m published! (kind of)

    Today, there’s a picture of an elevator on campus above the fold. My heart jumps. Yup, it’s article about the school elevators and I am one of 3 students quoted!

    I may C&P the article, because I don’t want my last name out there on my blog or here.

    Anyways, the last student quoted, a girl I know, spouted ableist BS about how non-disabled people shouldn’t use the elevator, only those who “absolutely” need it should, and TABs (not her language) should definitely not go up/down one floor!

    My response is another letter to the editor, and another blog post.

    I used her name in the letter to the paper, but edited that for the blog.

    I’m in the paper, talking about invisible disabilities! And how it feels to be trapped by pain when the elevator is broken and you’ve got flights of stairs to go down.

    “[Kaitlyn] said … the issue of out-of-service elevators affects more than just students with officially diagnosed disabilities.”

    Chronic pain represent! Because in the phone interview, I was honest. No disability.

    I hope this is an appropriate place, because while it is a student newspaper, it’s disability in the news!

    About retired couples needing so much for healthcare (USA retired people, of course), it reminds me of a headline I saw on yahoo a couple weeks ago. A million US dollars isn’t enough for a retirement nest egg anymore, or something. Sputter sputter, SAY WHAT?! You have to be a millionaire to retire now? *hides under blanket* I give up, the capitalists are scaring me.

  2. Question: In the post “Ally Work,” she uses the term “butthurt” quite a bit. I’m over 30, so that obviously affects my interpretation. But generally, when I see that insult, it is used against men who are considered whiny. Occassionally, I have seen it used to imply the guy is like someone who just had anal sex and then complained about it. I have been really uncomfortable with this term, because it seems to imply a guy who has been raped and is upset about it.

    Urban dictionary was not much help, although several definitions refer to anal sex. Could someone give me more of a sense of this word?

  3. Mother of a child who stutters, it’s language I find highly problematic and for the very reasons you state. I’ve edited the post to remove the link and the pull-quote.

    Urban Dictionary is often unhelpful when language is problematic — the structure of the site encourages an environment hostile to social justice work (and social justice workers).

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