"I never even notice the wheelchair."
“When I look at you, I don’t see the wheelchair.”
“Wheelchair. What wheelchair?”
Behold, my fellow persons with disabilities! I have successfully figured out why so many able-bodied people are terrified of us. They look at us and see random people floating several feet in the air in a sitting-position while demonically jerking our arms to move around!
At our first CIL, on campus at Berkeley, we had a whole bunch of people with progressive disabilities like multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy - people whose disability was ‘terminal.’
They got involved in the politics of independent living and they lived longer. Not just one or two years, but fifteen or twenty!
If you’re independent, and you fight, you live longer.
This is what’s chilling about hospice culture.
A lot of people on hospice shouldn’t be dying.
Hope Is Not A Plan
A story of civil rights in Canada. I just finished watching it, and I really want to share it.
I’m thinking right now of a time I was riding the LRT. It’s a bit of a distressing memory for me. I was sitting facing the inside of the car, when a lady in a wheelchair got on and parked right in front of me. I was in a bad state at the time, thinking about my disabilities made me want to cry. I moved a far bit over so I wasn’t facing her directly. I really hope she wasn’t offended. If I’d have stayed I’d have burst into tears. I didn’t want to make a scene. Incidentally, worrying about if I offended her made speech and acting normal difficult for the rest of the day, so I hid in the library and hoped no one would talk to me.
World average temperature
I’ve been reading this fascinating study about the incidence of school bullying in different countries. I thought Canada’s more tolerant culture would have lead to a decrease in bullying, but we have about the same incidence of bullying as the US. I just wish they had included data about New Zealand and Japan in the study.
Article about autistic inertia. Go read if interested. Some links may no longer work, it’s old. Some of it pertains to stuff that is more severe in autistic catatonia, too.
A moment of silence to all the kids who can’t wait to become a teenager because they think it’s fun
Two hours of silence for all the teenagers who can’t wait to become adults because they think they’ll get to do whatever they want
a shot of vodka to all the 20 somethings who are coping with a lack of rent money by sitting around eating captain crunch in dinosaur PJs wishing they were actually a pre-teen again.
Shout out to all the adults who can’t relate to this post because they’re beyond relieved that they’ll never have to be children again.
**For non-autistics who still don’t understand autistic behaviour**
- Look at the above image.
- Now, I’d like you to take the time to read a very old piece of internet copypasta
Life as a Nacirema
It has been brought to our attention that a strange new group of people have recently been discovered. The location of these people is not one hundred percent clear, although it is said their boundaries are somewhere between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, as well as the Gulf of Mexico. These people, known as the Nacirema, are an awkward group of people indeed. While very little is still known of them, one thing is certain of these people, and that is that they are highly dependant on the practice of daily rituals. It seems as though the sole survival of the Nacirema is dependant on the practice of their daily rituals.
Both the men and women of the Nacirema seem to hold equal power in their society. Although how the people govern themselves is unapparent, one thing particularly stands out among both the men and the women of the Nacirema. It seems as though the focus on the beauty, and bodies of these individuals ranks higher than anything else in the society they live in. Perfection of ones body is idolized among the Nacirema. According to anthropologists, the only way for the Nacirema to achieve this perfection is through the daily rituals they perform.
The daily customs of the Nacirema are a frightful thing to observe. Each one of the thousands of rituals performed by these strange group of people involves some amount of pain,which makes it easy to assume the Nacirema will do anything to acquire beauty.
Among the Nacirema, it is apparent that women seem to rely more strongly on their daily rituals than men do. Although beauty is sought after by both the men and the women of this society, women seem to require more daily customs to attain this beauty. If a woman does not perform enough customs, she is looked down upon and shunned by the rest of the Nacirema society.
One of the customs that seems necessary of the women of the Nacirema is incredibly strange. Women are to remove any excess hair on their bodies. This custom, known as gnixaw must be done by the women to achieve perfect all around beauty. Some men of the Nacirema perform this ceremony too, but it is much more common among the women.
The process of gnixaw ceremony is complex, and incredibly painful. To have this ritual done, the individual must head to the temple and visit the shaman. The shaman is highly revered for his skill in the use of magic. This magic is necessary if one is to achieve the perfect look. Upon entering the shamans lair, the woman is to remove all her clothes, and then put on a large sheet. The shaman then lays her onto a slab, and instructs her not to move.
Once the Nacirema woman is on the slab, the process begins. The shaman first mixes up all of his magical potions. The result of these potions is a thick, sticky substance. A flat stick is then used by the shaman to spread the substance onto certain areas of hair on the woman. The shaman then applies a strip to the top of the magical substance, and presses down on it. After a few seconds, the shaman rips the strip off, bringing with it patches of unwanted hair, as well as small bits of skin. This is then repeated in the same fashion, over and over again. Not until all the unwanted hair is off the Nacirema
woman,and she is bleeding and in pain is this cruel and unusual process done. The woman then must give the shaman something that is precious to her before she can leave the ceremony.
Looking upon the lives of the Nacirema people, it is apparent to see they are a highly ritualized people. The fact that they are still in existence after practicing these strange rituals is a mystery among all. However, even though the Nacirema are a strange and mysterious group of people, they have been thriving for generations, so apparently they have adapted to their way of life and survival.
If the point of the story is lost on you, let me explain. “Nacirema” is “American” backwards. “gnixaw” is “waxing.”
All they did was take typical modern American behaviour and describe it in anthropological terms like the narrator is an explorer in the jungle documenting “native tribes”.
This is so often how autistic behaviour is described and pathologised. It is stripped of its original context and made to seem like a David Attenborogh nature documentary. It is so, so very vital not to view autistic behaviour and traits through isolated pathological terms such as in the photo above because it dehumanizes us. It makes us into cause-and-effect science experiments, or zoological oddities.
And because it strips the conversation of the WHY.
WHY is that child refusing to play with otehrs unless an adult insists?
WHY is that child choosing to build blocks their own way?
WHY is that child doing “bizzare behaviour” and why is it bizzare? Is it bizzare to you? Because it’s probably not bizzare to them.
Rarely to the point of never do autistic people, even children, do something for absolutely no reason whatsoever. The reason may be weak “I just felt like it” or irrational “I thought I could fix it if I just added more water to the dough” but it’s not random. Or “bizzare”.
You are not looking at an exotic species from a primitive jungle tribe in the Amazon. There is no need to describe what an autistic person does like it’s a nature documentary and you’re an anthropologist.
What we need is communication and exploration of context.
1) Is the anyoen being harmed?
2) Does anyone have the potential to be harmed?
3) Are they enjoying themselves?
4) Are they learning?
Good job. Now go try to understand your autistic community a little bit better. And stop pathologising autistic behaviour.