Tag Archives: autism
This is a transcript of Sharon daVanport’s interview with Melissa Barton for the Asperger Women’s Association. Melissa’s son Alex was voted out of his kindergarten class Survivor-style by his teacher, Wendy Portillo, in May 2008; Alex has Asperger Syndrome. The Bartons have recently filed a federal lawsuit.
Let’s start with, this was her way of “fixing” Alex. And when I addressed the fact that, no, we were in the process of developing an IEP for services, we had a Student Assessment Team, and we all knew that he very likely had autism and more specifically Asperger Syndrome. This was real well-known and I addressed this with her, and she said to me that this was her form of psychology, and this was how she was going to magically heal my child.
A major downside to being flatbound ’cause of crippling anxiety and dealing with epic depression was no energy to exercise, and not being able to go outside to do so anyway.
Now I’m on anxiety meds and antidepressants. I still don’t have the energy to exercise, and I’m still flatbound, because the anxiety meds make so SO. INCREDIBLY. TIRED. I just made a sandwich for lunch, because I’m starving (that’s a plus to the antidepressants–I’m able to notice when I’m hungry again) and I’m wiped out. Just from making a peanut butter and apple butter sandwich, I’m exhausted.
I found out from my acupuncturist that the state of Michigan is considering requiring it’s citizens to get a doctor’s referral to go to an acupuncturists. So, in other words, rather than hearing from a friend that she went to acupuncture and that person deciding to give it a try too–Michigan wants to make it so that you have to go to a doctor first, and then, if the doctor is willing to actually give you the referral, you can go to the acupuncturist.
Many people who know about the history of midwives in the U.S. know why this is such an extraordinarily bad idea. But for those who don’t know that history–what this particular requirement would do is first and foremost, place an incredibly unfair burden on those people who don’t have health insurance. Those who are unable to afford a doctor would simply have yet another health alternative option removed from their already limited health arsenal.
My school district needs to cut $1.5 million from the budget this year. $900,000 of that comes from “an accounting error”. Think about that.
Wouldn’t you think that *somebody* might have been suspicious of a miraculous decrease in special ed costs, given that special ed is both expensive and needed by more and more students?
In the news:
Their apparent ability to tune in to the needs of psychiatric patients, turning on lights for trauma victims afraid of the dark, reminding their owners to take medication and interrupting behaviors like suicide attempts and self-mutilation, for example, has lately attracted the attention of researchers.
In September, the Army announced that it would spend $300,000 to study the impact of pairing psychiatric service dogs like Jet with soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with post-traumatic stress disorder. Both the House and Senate have recently passed bills that would finance the training and placement of these dogs with veterans.
If you are born differently abled, the state of your body is absolutely normal to you but if you come to this identity after being fully abled, it is a loss. I think that it is important to acknowledge this for exactly what it is. I have had doctors tell me that this is not healthy or normal. I have been encouraged to medicate myself into a false state of happiness. Being sad makes people uncomfortable and to own this sadness as completely as I do, even more so.
The woman that I was four years ago is gone forever. The woman that I thought that I would become ten years from now will never appear. This is a loss and it is traumatic. I have only lost one person in this life who was close to me and dealing with this disabled identity is very much the same sort of feeling. It is natural to mourn and this does not mean that you do not accept or love your new identity; it means that the person you were before was also of value.
Do not start with ‘but she’s not mad, she’s autistic’. This is not the moment for comparing isms and/or deciding that neurological disabilities deserve more or less stigma than psychiatric ones. For the moment, please, let’s lump them all in the same category, under ‘things causing one to be locked in a loony bin so that no one has to see us’.
This episode disrespects people like Amanda. Do not argue that it’s different because this is a special *space* madness that doesn’t follow the normal rules of psychiatry or neurology. It’s not, it’s playing on the same tropes human beings have been playing with since madness was *invented*. They made it a special space madness so they had an excuse to drag out those tropes and wallow in them without conflicting with contemporary knowledge of the realities of mental illness, post-traumatic stress, etc.
With this Steam-Powered Prosthetic Arm, I Could Be As Strong as… A Normal Person [Note: This post has some problematic content, such as using the term “wheelchair bound”, but overall I think it’s interesting and worth reading.]
Steampunk, as we all are aware, draws its inspiration from the Victorian era, which, for all its accomplishments, wasn’t very good to people with disabilities. Halifax, where I live, has a few Heritage Houses, many of which were built during the era, and it doesn’t take much to see that most of them are wheelchair-inaccessible. By and large, disability issues fall off the steampunk radar. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any steampunks with disabilities. Out of curiousity, I put out feelers on Brass Goggles.
In fact, there are quite a few, and disabilities don’t really stop anybdy — Mark F. has been living with chronic muscle and join pain for 30 years (plus osteoarthritis; we should note that for many, it’s never just one illness, but a whole clusterfuck of problems which exacerbate each other), and yet has managed to refurbish an entire work cubicle, among other projects. Many other steampunks with disabilities also involve themselves with the physical side of steampunk: DIY, costuming, conventioneering.
*WARNINGS apply to this post – descriptions of assault and abuse of people with disabilities, including sexual abuse*
In the news:
In an eleventh-hour intervention, Alan Johnson told MPs that he had “stopped the clock” on proceedings to give Mr McKinnon’s lawyers time to consider medical reports and make legal representations.
Mr McKinnon, 43, from Wood Green, North London, suffers from Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism. He says that his hacking of Pentagon computers was nothing more than him searching for reports of UFO sightings.
Feel free to send me anything you think I’d like to look at to firstname.lastname@example.org
A disabled college student is having trouble getting around campus, after someone stole his motorized wheelchair. […] Horus had locked it up and left it charging overnight. When he returned to campus, it was gone – all that was left was the charger. […] Horus’ wheelchair cost about $5,000 and that means whoever stole it faces grand theft charges.
“It’s really difficult for me to replace it. To replace it, it would take me like a year,” Horus said.
See, I’m one of the 25 million Americans who are underinsured. I have health insurance — pay $350/month for it — as part of a new policy that I switched to back in January when I quit my 9 to 5 to become a freelancer/fulltime writer for awhile. I’m pretty healthy and only in my thirties, but I have a family history of fibroids (like 50% of black women). So every year when I get my annual physical, I also get an ultrasound to check for those. This year the test showed small fibroids — too small to worry about, really, not even requiring treatment, though I need to keep an eye on them in case they grow. No biggie, I thought; my doctor’s efforts at preventative care had done what they were supposed to do, and detected a potential problem early enough that I can fix it easily if necessary. Health care at its best.
I was leaning against a sign that read “Bus Stops Here” and jamming to some Dresden Dolls, my trusty guide dog sitting politely at my left leg. He laid down impatiently as the minute hands ticked and still no bus in sight. Then, out of what most docs wouldn’t call peripheral vision I spotted a figure stooping for a pet-by.
What is a pet-by, you ask? It’s when a knowing pedestrian sneaks in a pet or smooch or otherwise grossly boundaries-crossing form of affection at an unsuspecting service animal. Not to be mistaken with human grabbings or other forms of harassment but nonetheless devious and irritating for both animal and human handler.
Without missing a beat and sans usual snark I said loud enough for passerby to hear that “that was a shitty thing to do.” There, I said it. That was a shitty thing for person to do. Ask first, respect my answer, move on. Clearly knowing petting wasn’t allowed, ze sneaked on by, hoping I wouldn’t notice. Too bad my dog alerts me, not liking unknown human touch too much.
Another area I see feminism and disability-rights perspectives reinforcing each other is on the question of caregiving. This might not seem like an obvious choice, since you often see feminists and disabled self-advocates at odds over this issue: when disabled people assert our right to adequate care in our own homes (or wherever we choose), feminists argue that we are also claiming entitlement to the underpaid or unpaid labor of women. (See the feminist blogswarm over Ashley X for ample evidence of this conflict).
But when you think about it, modern industrial capitalist society’s way of dealing with children, disabled people, elderly adults and every other group that needs help with daily tasks is exactly what you’d expect from a society in which women are invisible second-class citizens. When women are not valued as highly as men, women’s work is not regarded as real work, and obligations that fall under the umbrella of “women’s work” (say, care for the old, the sick and the disabled) will be more likely to be dismissed as “family responsibilities” in which government meddling is unwarranted.
Post-Trauma.net is “here to help you access information about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and related mental health information.” They have a list of resources available.
Reminder! The next Disability Blog Carnival is coming up on the weekend. Get your posts in to Liz! Tell your friends!
In the blogs:
ADAPT in Atlantica, kicking ass and taking names [LONG] [US]
Their goals are, free people from being incarcerated in nursing homes, and kept in there against their will. They back the Money Follows the Person program, which means a person’s benefits are under their control rather than under the control of doctors, social workers, and assisted living facilities (who are a powerful medical-industrial complex much like the prison-industrial complex: powerful lobbyists with a lot of money at stake.) Right now ADAPT also supports the Community Choice Act, a bill which you can see and follow directly with OpenCongress.org.
I mean, seriously. That’s so naive and so painful. You are my friend. Come ON. I mean, I didn’t whiten up or lose the wheels. And it isn’t like other people don’t notice my differences, either…. They exist. We both know they exist. When we go out together you notice that I am treated differently from you; we both guess that race is the likely factor; it makes no sense to say that. What on earth are you saying? When we go out together and we’ve spent the past hour or so trying to deal with access questions — to your house, to the store, to the restaurant. What are you saying? And what the hell do you mean?
The best I can figure is that you are trying not to say something like, “In my eyes, your difference is not a barrier to our continued friendship.” Or perhaps it’s, “You don’t seem to have the usual pathologies of people with your condition, race, etc. We can continue to be friends.” Or perhaps it’s, “I’m big enough to handle whatever problems your difference brings.” But it could also be, “I don’t think in terms of these categories; it is a point of pride with me that I am not racist/ableist…” Hopefully, it is a miscommunication for, “We aren’t the same, and I like you just as you are.”
I saw something in this past Sunday’s Kansas City Star that gave me a tiny bit of hope, both for our culture in general and the ongoing atrocity that is the Judge Rotenberg Center in particular: the Thayer Learning Center*, a boot-camp-style institution for “troubled teens,” which has accumulated a fairly long list of complaints of abuse and neglect of its inmates since its opening in 2002, has closed, and been sold to a Cheyenne Indian educator named Lakota John, who plans to open a new, very different kind of school on the old Thayer grounds.
The new school will be geared toward Native American young people of all tribes, with emphases on sustainable agriculture (using traditional, Native American farming methods), outdoor skills, and Native American culture, art and spirituality.
It should go without saying that paramedics have the right to do their job without being assaulted, and to call for help if they are assaulted. But it should also go without saying that having a seizure and struggling against (allegedly heavy-handed) care while in a state of confusion do not count as assault. And I find it difficult to imagine any circumstances under which it could possibly be okay for police to arrest someone currently in a state of medical emergency, and then not obtain medical care for her for nine hours.
Kourtney Wilson is a black woman, and it seems extremely unlikely that race had nothing to do with this case, and that a middle-class white woman would have endured the same treatment. Wilson indicates the same belief herself about racial and class bias, and her roommate Tiffini Williams suggests, “They come to the hood, see a girl on the floor, and they think she’s on drugs.” The idea sounds extremely plausible, and while it’s appalling that anyone would endure such treatment if their medical condition was the result of drug use, I don’t doubt that it’s a common occurrence.
All this week was Disability History Week in New York. I’m slowly generating a post on this (my thesis is in this area), but feel free to talk in the comments about your favourite thing that you think comes under the umbrella of “disability history”.
Lauredhel has a described-image up that’s Disability Week Fail at its finest.
Lastly, I’m using my big megaphone: Come help us generate a list of YA/Children’s lit with a character with a disability at my Dreamwidth account.