Recommended Reading for April 2, 2010
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.
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.
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.
In the news (just headlines today, all from the US):
Short Bursts of Activity Ease Fibromyalgia