My Biases

Recent events have gotten me thinking about some of my biases. I do have them. Some of them are really quite strong. I am not here to apologize for them – quite the opposite, I like the biases I am about to talk about. My writing tends to be heavily influenced by them. However, it is clear that there are people out there who think these types of predispositions are absolutely horrible, so I figured I would just make what I believe utterly clear. This is my perspective.

1. I am heavily (though not completely) into the social model of disability. I do not say this to simply disregard the medical model, but to say that the medical model is, by itself, woefully incomplete. The social model is absolutely vital.

Basically, this means that I think that the problem is not so much the physical or mental differences (which is not to say we don’t have challenges. we do. See my contradictions post), but the way society treats those of us who have physical or mental differences.

I do not say that it is we who are broken and have to be fixed or cured. I say the world needs to learn to accept us, embrace us, and accommodate our needs. This is a very huge deal, especially as it seems that some people who strongly prefer the medical model of disability can be quite vitriolic about it.

Further reading:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_model_of_disability
http://www.scope.org.uk/about-us/our-brand/social-model-of-disability

2. Disabled adults need to lead the conversation about disability – not the parents of disabled children. This… this is a contentious point. Just to be clear, I am not saying that there is no room for parents at the table. Quite the contrary, parent’s voices are important too. However, non-disabled parents need to take a few steps back to make sure the voices of disabled adults are heard first, and need to be willing to listen to and take seriously the messages coming from disabled adults.

If parents of disabled children decide that the adults within their particular disability niche should not be listened to, I will be incensed. Would they want their own children to be ignored that way, when their children become adults? Somehow I doubt it.

If said parents disregard the social model of disability and are firmly within the medical model of disability and refuse anything else, my reaction of displeasure will only increase.

3. This one is more recent and less entrenched than the other two, but more and more I’d like to see the various diverse disability movements come together. I would like to see autistic adults do more talking to adults with other disabilities. I would like us to talk about how our issues overlap, and how we all might be able to help each other. Because there IS overlap, and surely we could come together to combat the problems. So often our communities seem so insular. Maybe there’s a way to change that.

This post needs a conclusion or wrap up. To be honest, I can’t particularly think of one. I suspect I have more biases, but these are the big ones. These are my beliefs, and I care about them, and knowing what they are probably helps shed light on where I’m coming from.

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under opinion, Uncategorized

3 responses to “My Biases

  1. PK

    I like your biases too. I pretty much share them (NT mom of autistic kiddo). 🙂

  2. When it comes to aspeger’s syndrome, I believe very often it is the aspies themselves that know what support they really need. Too often, asperger’s support groups made up mainly of younger men, are co-ordinated by neurotypical middle-aged women, that have no idea what it is like to live with asperger’s, and though well-intentioned, don’t really know what support is needed. Neurotypicals can be great at bringing people together and helping to communicate ideas, but its the people with the condition that are best at driving change and identifying what help or services they need.

  3. Woody

    As a parent, I agree that there needs to be more discourse between us and the adults who share the same disability as our children. The only problem is that the issues that may be most important to parents (access to diagnostic or early intervention services, insurance reform, education services) are not often the focus of autistic adults (employment, housing, adult relationships). That said, there are definitely enough important shared issues that it is a shame that there is not more engagement between the two groups.