Thursday, February 12, 2009

Disability Blog Carnival #53: Pot Luck

With the topic Pot Luck, I hoped to receive a lot of varied submissions. And I sure did! True to the topic, the submissions were all over the place! This was my first blog carnival, and it was so much fun putting it together! I hope you enjoy the offerings here.

(Mis)Perceptions and Labeling
To start it off, Andrea from Andrea’s Buzzing About talks about empathy in people with autism in You Just Don’t Get It. She writes, "If you cannot see that autistic people do indeed have empathy, then possibly you are not perceiving their distress, identifying the feelings being experienced, discerning probable causes, and being able to identify with such situations."

Laura at Touched By an Alien: Life as I Know It writes about the controversy of labeling in order to receive community resources. She rightly asks if services should be more geared toward the individual rather than based on a label.

Cheryl writes If You're a Tard and You Know It... about the book The Short Bus: A Journey Beyond Normal by Jonathan Mooney. She recommends this book and its great disability pride sentiments and from the sound of it, just because it's fun.

Accessibility: IKEA, Pubs, and Dick Cheney’s Wheelchair
Accessibility was on several people’s minds. Lauredhel of Hoyden About Town was at first impressed by IKEA’s accessibility—until she tried to leave the store!

Emma at Writings of a Wheelchair Princess tells us about recent complaints she has written about accessibility issues she’s encountered. “I will always be making complaints because how else will the world change?” she asks.

I also received a few thought-provoking posts about Dick Cheney’s use of a wheelchair at the presidential inauguration last month. Laura writes about Cheney’s Villainy: Nothing to Do with His Wheelchair. She writes: “We don’t need another villain in a wheelchair. A villain he may be, with shared responsibility for torture, repression, and all kinds of other crimes against humanity. But the wheelchair has nothing to do with it.”

Liz also covers this topic at Deconstructing Cheney's De-Inaugural Wheelchair. She writes: “How bitter, but how very expected, that the top levels of our own government, the most powerful men around, can't pull it together to obtain a halfway decent wheelchair and decent access, for one of their own. That exposes the deep, deep ignorance in our country about access for people with disabilities, and how far we have yet to go.”

Pity and Incompetence
At the blog Coral and Opal, there is a good commentary, Some Laughs Are Cheaper Than Others, about recent comedy skits about David Patterson, governor of New York. Even humorous skits should not “further the misconception that blindness is part of incompetence,” they write.

Speaking of demeaning views of people with disabilities, we must mention our old friend Jerry Lewis! The excellent blog The Trouble with Jerry has been cataloging Lewis’ use of pity to raise money for muscular dystrophy research. They recently posted the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ response to a letter opposing Lewis’ receiving a humanitarian award. Equating Lewis’ patronizing and pity-based approach to people with disabilities to "some scratches in the paint job” on a Lamborghini, the Academy just doesn’t get it and is sticking by its intention to give Lewis the award. Can’t say I’m surprised. . . .

Honoring “Genuine Inspirations”
I received a few posts on people with disabilities who have been true inspirations. I know, I know, but check out Romeo’s post on Tom, “the most famous autistic savant of all time,” who was a musical genius.

PhilosopherCrip talks about a “genuine inspiration”—I like that!—in a “heartfelt remembrance of an activist and a ‘force,’” his friend Annie who recently passed away at age 24. Annie’s philosophy of life was “Embrace diversity. Educate your community. Empower each other. Love life.” A little bit different than that Lamborghini with scratches on it above, huh?

And who isn't the biggest inspiration to us parents than our children? I received some great posts from mothers who blog about their children. Sally at Maggie World talks about her daughter’s communication abilities at The Sounds of Silence. Since getting her trach, her daughter communicates without her voice. Sally misses Maggie’s laugh and how she used to say “mama.” “We communicate fine without that one word, but it was always nice to hear,” she writes in his heartfelt post.

Ricki’s mom at Beneath the Wings gives us several thought-provoking posts about life with her daughter. On one occasion, she found running away to be the best response. It’s better on the nerves and the eardrums, she writes. She tells us about Ricki’s shaking off an annoying offer of help with something she could do perfectly well herself, thank you. On yet another occasion, Ricki’s mom found herself teaching a future special ed teacher a lesson about rights and respect . And last, she deals with teachers who let Ricki get away with murder. All in a day’s work for a mother, huh? :)

Heather from Learn-gasm provides a nicely organized list of the top 100 gender studies blogs. Anyone have a list of top 100 disability studies blogs?

A few posts discussed specific conditions and how they should or should not be treated. Dean at The Back Pain Blog talks about Herniated Discs and the Catch-22 of Rehabilitation. Rebuilding a person’s back isn’t easy, but Dean says it can be done.

And Ettina of Abnormaldiversity talks about side effects of behavioral treatments. She also reports on a case in Canada concerning a woman with Asperger’s. Ettina writes: “Much as many people would like it, being nasty and verbally abusive does not take away your human rights.”

Barbara at Barbara's Tchatzkahs tells us about how the topic of autoimmune diseases is pushed under the rug even though these disorders are so prevalent.

Alicia at Temporarily Disabled writes about warning signs her body was giving her when she was just in the fourth grade. This is her first entry in what should be a great blog. She tells us to stay tuned; I know I will! reports on a recent symposium at the University of Washington on the “Ashley treatment,” or "growth attenuation". No disability rights activists were present at the conference, which is quite disturbing.

Terri at About Partners in Policymaking writes about participating in New York State Partners in Policymaking (NYSPIP). She tells us that PIP covers “cutting-edge ideas and principles,” and the best part of the program is the relationships that are built there. PIP exists in most states, so look into it!

Keeping Hope Alive
I’ll end with some optimistic thoughts. At Life of John , John discusses keeping hope alive about finding that special someone through online dating. Good luck, John!

Frances tries to look on the bright side about the current financial crisis in her Independent Living Journal. She writes, “… perhaps now it's time to back the people who don't fit into the narrow stereotypes of traditional success, and see whether imagination and good-will can get us a bit further than recent economic theories have.” Here’s hoping!

And finally, Terri at Barriers, Bridges and Books shares the post Impossible? about her hopes that our new president can make some progress for people with disabilities.

Phew! All of these posts gave us a lot of food for thought, and I hope everyone had their fill (I know, pretty bad)! Thank you for all the submissions. I think this topic really worked out well—broad enough to be able to include tons of different topics and experience many different blogs. But wait, don’t go away too fast—anyone going to help me with the dishes???