Weekly Reading List

Picture of two shelves of multicolored books

Worth reading …

Campaign Events, Accessibility & Disabled People: Interview With Sarah Blahovec and Laura Halvorson
Alice Wong, Disability Visibility Project - October 2, 2016

If you read this interview, and obviously I hope you do, try not to focus too much on the fact that it’s about a Presidential candidate’s rally. To me, the takeaway is that bad accessibility planning leads to awful experiences for disabled people, even in generally friendly settings all the time. In fact, it’s one of the core realities of the disability experience … that good intentions often lead to bad outcomes, and that there’s actually fairly little correlation between the quality of accessibility and the decency of the people involved. Accessibility requires intention and commitment, but to work it also requires specific knowledge and technical thoroughness. Of course, Sarah and Laura’s experience also underscores how easily otherwise intelligent, thoughtful people can become thoughtless, stampeding cattle under the right, or rather wrong, circumstances.

13 Microaggressions People With Disabilities Face On A Daily Basis
Wendy Lu, Bustle - September 26, 2016

We can always use another listing of specific types of ableism, aimed at non-disabled people who have a vague idea about it, but don’t quite get what actually bothers us most in everyday life. All of the items on this list are recognizable, and go beyond just the basics … though not too far, which is also good.

Supreme Court To Weigh FAPE Mandate
Michelle Diament, Disability Scoop - September 29, 2016

I include this item on the list simply because the duty of public schools to provide Free Appropriate Public Education to students with disabilities is an absolutely key concept in disability rights, and not just in education. If the Supreme Court rules that schools have only an obligation to provide “minimal benefit” to disabled students, it will be bad for disabled students all over the United States. It will also undermine the right of disabled people of all ages to receive “more than minimal benefit” from all sorts of services. We could face a situation in the very near future where the new standard for “equal service” is merely to provide crappy, sub-standard service. It seems to me the law is clear here, and I doubt the court will rule this way, but if they do, it will be a VERY BAD THING.

Ranking Names States With Best Disability Services
Shaun Heasley, Disability Scoop - October 3, 2016

The Case For Inclusion 2016 - United Cerebral Palsy

This report from United Cerebral Palsy is a valuable service … an attempt to assess how each U.S. state handles developmental disability services, based on specific objective criteria. The criteria are decent: community living, living an active life, health and well-being, being able to stay with family if that’s what you want. If it was up to me I would add some more specific measures, like the number of people living in real homes and apartments vs. in institutions and group homes. But I think this survey more or less captures the fact that mere quantity of services and size of budgets don’t necessarily determine quality. It’s interesting, too, that the “good” states are diverse, lending credence to the idea that quality in disability services is a political, institutional choice, not just a benefit of geography, culture, or relative prosperity. I have included a link to the Disability Scoop article and the report itself.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is out this weekend, and I have questions
Alissa Wilkinson, Vox.com - September 30, 2016

When I first saw the trailer for “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children,” my first thought was that this could be one of those films that the disability community might embrace in a unique, personal way, even though it isn’t really about disability. The Vox writer seems to have similar thoughts, though again, not quite as specific as that. I don’t think it’s too controversial in the disability community to say that disabled people … disabled kids and youth especially … feel like “misfits.” And movies and books that elevate misfits are, well, elevating … or they can be. But I, too, have often wondered, as Wilkinson does, how often this idea actually falls short for disabled people who just can’t buy the whole idea that their differences make them remarkable in a good way. It’s something we shoot for, and a key idea of disability pride and culture, but for every disabled person who comes out of movies like this feeling awesome, I’ll bet there’s at least one who comes out feeling alienated and let down when faced with their actual lives. These things have to be done carefully.