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Saturday, May 1, 2010

Cross disability thoughts: Seeking out connections

Multiple Perspectives was Wednesday on the twenty-eighth. Our ASAN chapter was invited to talk about self-advocacy, employment and education. It was interesting to talk to the ADA about viewpoint as self-advocating autists (and yes I nearly went into overload). Yet something reached me as sat and had lunch with several people from different disability groups. Something that I've talked about but never really discussed, especially for Blogging against Disabilism day.

What about cross-disability politics and even cross-disability ableism? We're naive to think that every disabled person is going to empathize with someone different disability. That a person with a mobility impairment is going to understand the stress of someone who is deaf and someone with borderline personality disorder is going to understand someone with dwarfism. It's not possible. It's human to find disconnect with different sub-groups with in a minority. I've seen the ableism even with in HFA/LFA dichotomy. I've talked about before. I've seen ableism from autists against those with psychoses. Especially against those that for anti-psychiatry. They too feed into the stigma and stereotypes. In the same breath I've seen people with mild psychoses judge those with severe intellectual impaired people. I've seen people with visible physical disabilities make harsh statements against those with mental impairments of all kinds.

I could go on and on and on, yet despite talking in an oroboric cycle I feel that I won't make my point clear. My point in a succinct fashion is that normal typical people are not the only people that are ableist. Ableism permeates within the disabled community much like ink within a pool of water. It's not a just a typical/normal/abled person issue it's a human issue. I know, I know I am preaching to the choir, but I feel I need to call this out.

The human aspect of not finding a connection and repelling against those with a different disability. Is something we shouldn't fixate on. Human nature is human nature. What we should do is find connections that are their. Someone with a wheelchair or a mobility impairment; should understand the frustration that a little person feels when they can't reach or obtain something without help. A deaf adult could empathize with a nonverbal autist struggling to communicate with his family. The connections are their, we just have to seek them out.

I've seen the connections in action. I've seen a man with hydrocephalus discuss neuro-diversity. Something I thought was an autist only phenomenon. I've seen TASH and other groups rise up against AutSpks. My best friend with borderline supports my autism rights activism. My schizophrenic best friend, fist bumps me when I tell him about the new laws to help mentally impaired kids. These connections are vital, and something we should strive to maintain. We should advocate for each other and find the necessary common ground to fight against ableism in typical society. Only if we stand together could we make major difference. Yet we need to address the ableism within and solve that as well. We need to stop the ideaism that one disability is better than another and that certain disability groups shouldn't exist.

Disability right are human rights. And there is ableism within disability groups.


  1. here via nightengalesknd@lj. loved your post. needed to be said. thanks for writing it.

  2. It certainly does need to be said. As we push for respect and rights from without, we need to keep a pan-disability perspective within.