Weekly Reading List

Picture of two shelves of multicolored books

ABLE program provides tax-free savings for disabled children
Carole Feldman, Washington Post - January 19, 2016

It has been quite awhile since we heard about the ABLE Act, and I'm glad to see it's finally being implemented. I like that Ms. Feldman consults tax professionals in her article, not just disability experts. And one of them mentioned how ABLE accounts are not counted as assets for the purposes of ongoing benefits eligibility ... which is one of the most valuable aspects of the program, yet rarely mentioned. I do wish there was a stronger pitch directly to disabled adults, instead of always describing this as a program for parents of disabled "children." Even though it's only for people whose disabilities began before age 26, if you meet that criteria you're still eligible if you live past 26 ... so it's not just for kids.

'My baby would always be a carrier of my disability'
Kathleen Hawkins, BBC - January 18, 2016

This article has a terribly misleading headline. It suggests the article will be a sad story about a disabled woman deciding not to have a child for fear of passing her disability on to her child. It's actually about a disabled woman who is aware of the genetics, but decided to have a child anyway, even if she had found her child would be disabled. It's also a very realistic and positive story that if it conveys any message at all, says that pregnancy, childbirth, and raising a child are entirely feasible for women with disabilities. Even the photo on the article clashes with the tone of the headline. How strange.

I Can't, In Fact, "Do Anything I Set My Mind To" (And That's OK)
The Squeaky Wheelchair - January 21, 2016

This is a fantastic exploration of the nuances of the possible where disabled people are concerned. It's a much more complex and balanced argument than I expected based on the title. And the accompanying photo is perfect!

Voices Out of Turn and Without Permission
Dave Hingsburger, Rolling Around In My Head - January 22, 2016

I share Mr. Hingsburger's view that it's okay for disabled people to comment on disability-related images and expressions that are publicly offered, even when they are also expressions of private, personal feeling. I especially like how he notes that ideas about disability are inherently political, never just personal. However, I do think that some degree of moderation is in order when the thing we are talking about involves the most intense and fundamentally private matters, like family, children, love, and loss. I also think the politics aspect needs more exploration, because while many of us equate "political" with "meaningful" and "important,"  many pep[;e associate "political" with "corrupt," "arrogant" and "self-serving." I think they're wrong, but it's a very common reaction to the whole notion of "politics" and "agendas." It's one of the main reasons it's so hard to talk meaningfully about disability without rubbing people the wrong way. Of course, what is private and what is public? Is there a gray area between the two? Might that gray area be similar to what some social media people and activists call "safe spaces" ... public, but with an understanding that some responses are, in that particular context, "not okay?" I really don't know. Its an interesting and maybe important thing for the disability community in particular to think about.

Born This Way: A Closer Look At The New Hit TV Reality Show
Vicki Vila, Two Thirds Of The Planet - January 23, 2016

I am really impressed with the thoroughness of this review. Ms. Vila gives due consideration to many different takes on the show and its meaning, and takes the time to reach out and talk with some of the key people associated with the show, and with other reviewers. I found it most interesting to read how the viewers with Down Syndrome she spoke to reacted to the show. I feel like I need to figure out a way to keep including more disabled voices in the Disability.TV Podcast ... more disabled voices other than mine, that is.