Recommended Reading, June 24 2010

Static Nonsense at I am Not – Exceptionally Creative [discussing the new study concluding that creativity and schizophrenia are related]

Awareness, be it of mental illness or physical disability, includes all of the effects, not just positive or negative. To ignore one in favor of the other strips the depth from the experience, and strains us not just individually, but as a whole. The experiences of an individual being erased doesn’t just harm them, but all of us because then the support and awareness that we all need to thrive are strained. And sometimes, they’re not offered at all.

Paja – Tangible Communication

We’re planning to create some ways of tactile communication, especially for people with impairments (physical or visual). For example, a squeeze on a stress ball generates a ‘Hello’ on a display to a person along with a tactile feedback on a glove, by way of inflation. The same principle can also be used the other way, where a typed mssage like ‘Hello’ inflates the respective Braille bubbles on a surface of the receiver.

Change Blog – Families [in the US] with Disabled Members Aren’t Raking It In

A new study published by the National Association of Social Workers shows that households that include an adult with a disability earn less per year and have a lower net worth than families without a disabled member. In studying more than 16,000 households, including more than 4,000 with a disabled adult, researchers from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill School of Social Work and the University of Haifa in Israel found that regardless of family structure (single parent, married, etc.), households with disabled members faced obstacles, including attaining suitable housing and accommodating employment, that kept them from earning at the same level as households that didn’t include a disabled member.

Square 8 – Executive Functioning Blues

I put the items into a list. I categorize the list: Work Stuff (my job), Other Work Stuff (things I have promised to do that are also work, but I don’t necessarily get paid for them), Home Stuff (chores and bills), and Phone. Phone goes at the top of the list, then the bottom. Get it over with? Put it off until I forget or find it doesn’t matter anymore? Or just move it around? Phone goes to second on the list. There are a number of items under Phone and this is a problem. If I get to the first item under Phone today, I’ll consider it a victory. I realize that one of the Phone calls will be of an automated nature. I make that one right away, but it doesn’t count. I highlight it anyway, but I know better. I toy with the idea of sorting the rest of Phone into the three other categories, according to what the call is about. No, Phone deserves its own place in the Purgatory of the list, third place out of four.

Partners in Health – Wheeling Around Haiti

With knobby mountain bike tires and a sturdy, specially designed steel frame, Whirlwind’s RoughRider wheelchairs enable its occupants to go where conventional wheelchairs cannot, wheeling over broken pavement, rocks, roots, mud, and ramp-less curbs that are common  throughout Haiti and other developing countries. In fact, the non-profit organization designed the vehicles in collaboration with wheelchair riders in over 20 developing nations. The resulting design is a winner, at least for Lelan. “When we first rolled the new RoughRider into her yard, she began clapping and said, ‘Thank you, thank you, now I can go to church,’” recounts Whirlwind’s Rachel Kishton. “She took to her chair quickly and was downright fearless while rolling around her patio. She quickly started figuring out how to move into and around her house.”

Sweet Perdition – The Right Kind

Somtimes I’m the right kind of person; other times, I’m not. There is “good” or “bad” behavior involved, no secret way to stay on the right side of personhood. There are only the whims of others; whether you line up with them or not, ultimately, has nothing to do with you. You can be privileged to be the right kind of person, sometimes, but it is no skill you possess, nothing you have done. The only thing you or I or anyone else can do is stop chopping people up into pieces, into kinds. And when we are the right kind of person, we can recognize our luck-our privilege-for what it is.