Weekly Reading List

Illustration of two shelves of multicolored books

Last week's best disability reading:

You are always losing until you win!
Leah Smith, Center for Disability Rights - April 18, 2016

There are many places to learn about ADAPT and the organization's main policy issue, the "institutional bias" in long term care. But this is a particularly good overview of a simple issue that's surprisingly hard to describe simply. It's also an important reminder that all of the most important changes take time. And by time, we're talking about years, sometimes decades, not months, weeks, or a single Election Day.

DWP drew up plans to charge disabled people for fit-to-work appeals, internal documents reveal
John Stone, The Independent - April 21, 2016

It bears repeating ... anyone who is interested in the future of disability policy in the United States should spend at least some time getting up to speed on what's been happening in the United Kingdom. Even though this money-squeezing policy wasn't even introduced, it's telling that people were thinking about it. It's also no good simply being shocked and morally offended. These kinds of policies are the result of more than just personal ableism. They make total sense to people who are convinced, as an article of faith or ideology, that disability programs are being weighed down by huge numbers of people who aren't "really disabled," by some narrow, conventional definition of what disabled means. They don't necessarily oppose supporting disabled people. It's just that their concept of a "deserving" disabled person allows for maybe ten actual people in the whole country. This idea hasn't kicked in much here in the U.S., but the mindset is out there, ready to be exploited.

Blogging Against Disablism Day 2016
Diary of a Goldfish - April 1, 2016

I'm going to do this. On May 1, I'll post a piece on this blog about "ableism." It will probably be more exploration of the word itself ... how it's used and what it means to people who use it, and maybe why the word seems to make others see red. For some reason, "ableism" is a polarizing word, far more than can be explained by the emotions inherent in the actual subject. Stay tuned. I also encourage my fellow disability bloggers to write something about ableism, disability discrimination, or whatever you call it, for the May 1st Blogging Against Disablism Day.

The Joy of Trespassing
Smart Ass Cripple - April 17, 2016

I used to be underwhelmed by the "Doctors said I wouldn't live past X, but I proved them wrong!" trope in disability culture. Maybe it's because my father was a doctor. He taught me early on that most of what doctors say are educated guesses, and shouldn't be taken as absolute clairvoyant predictions, just informed advice or probability. Also, my doctors generally wanted me to do well, so I never felt I was "proving them wrong" by walking, being smart, or not dying. But once again, Smart Ass Cripple gives me a fresh take on the idea of exceeding expectations, and why it's important. I like the idea that we are "trespassing". I also think it's important to recognize that at least some doctors seem to make pessimism a kind of religion ... or at least a guiding principle ... when dealing with parents of disabled kids. Now, I am a pessimist. I like being mentally prepared for the worst, and pleasantly surprised when good happens instead. But I think maybe parenting is one part of life where pessimism isn't helpful, and when disabled kids are involved, can be really destructive.

If You Give A Mouse An Accessible Playground
Mary Evelyn, What Do you Do, Dear? - April 25, 2016

How is it that when parents of kids with disabilities write about their experiences, some make me want cry with exasperation and punch something, while others make me cry with real joy and a feeling of connecting across a mental chasm? If you think parents can't write about disability with insight and honesty, and without being maudlin, you need to bookmark "What Do You Do, Dear?" Mary Evelyn isn't all sunshine and light, nor is she all "Woe is me!" Ultimately, I think, I'm on board with whatever she's thinking and feeling because she doesn't take her situation too seriously, and because she understands better than most parents exactly where the problems and struggles of disability come from ... not from the disabilities themselves, but from all the human-made barriers that don't need to be there but so often are. That's what's missing from most of the parent writings I read.