cognitively disabled

Things You Can do to Help Disabled People That Don't Cost A Cent
  • Do not talk about an obviously disabled person in front of them as if they can’t hear or understand you.
  • Do not talk to a disabled person’s companion instead of them.  
  • Ask permission before touching people, or their wheelchairs/other equipment. Even if you want to help.
  • Ask disabled people about their lives and really listen to their answers.  (Within reason. Asking people personal questions about their sex lives, for example, is rude unless you are very close to them and they’ve communicated they’re OK with that).
  • Listen to what they say whether they are speaking, writing, typing, using text to speech, using a letterboard, using PECS, gesturing, using sign language, or using any other form of communication.  People who cannot speak can still communicate.
  • Stand up for people you see getting bullied.
  • Understand that disabled people don’t just need friends, they can be friends, too.
  • Every public place does not need to have loud, blaring music and TVs with flashing screens.  
  • If you blog, put bright, flashing images that can trigger seizures under a cut so that people with seizures can avoid looking at them.
  • If a job can possibly be done without a person driving, don’t require candidates to drive/have a driver’s license, and don’t interview candidates and then reject them because they don’t drive.
  • When talking to someone who has trouble speaking or stutters, and takes a long time to speak, wait for them to answer. Don’t keep repeating the question or pressuring them. Yes, if you’re like me and your mind is going really fast and you forget what people are saying if they take too long, it can be hard to be patient.  Do it anyway.
  • If you are talking to a deaf person, make it easier for them to lip-read by facing towards them while looking at them, and not covering your mouth with your hands.
  • If you are talking to someone with hearing impairment or auditory processing disorder, it is more helpful to slow down or rephrase what you’re saying than to just speak more loudly.  
  • Some disabled people have difficulty understanding nonliteral language such as metaphors and idioms (e.g., “a stitch in time saves nine”). If you’re talking to someone like this, try explaining what you mean by these figures of speech, or just not using them.
  • Recognize that failure to make eye contact does not mean someone is lying to you. It may be uncomfortable for them.
  • Recognize that unwillingness to go out to loud, crowded bars does not mean someone isn’t interested in socializing with you.
  • If people have difficulty spelling, or using the appropriate jargon/terminology for your social group, do not assume they’re stupid.  You may need to paraphrase some “jargon” for them.
  • Recognize that a person can need time alone and it doesn’t mean they don’t like you or want to be with you. It’s just something they need so they can function at their best.
  • If a person does not recognize you, do not assume they don’t care about you.  They may be face-blind.
  • If a person does not remember your birthday (or other major names, numbers, or dates) do not assume they don’t care about you. They may simply have a bad memory.
  • Understand that a disabled person’s talents, however esoteric, are real, not unimportant “splinter skills.”
  • Colorblindness affects more than just knowing what color something is.  To a colorblind person, colors that they can’t see will look the same if they have the same degree of lightness/darkness.  That means that to a red-green colorblind person, a red rose on a green background will blend in instead of contrast starkly, and the Chicago CTA El map will be difficult to understand.  Understand that something that stands out to you and seems obvious may literally not be visible to a colorblind person.
  • Accept stimming.
  • Don’t tell them “but you look so normal.” But, if they accomplish something you know they were working really hard to do, it’s great to compliment them on it.
  • Understand that a person can be working incredibly hard to do something and may still not perform as well as you’d like them to, as well as the average person would, or as well as the situation demands.
  • If someone has a major medical problem, disability, or chronic illness, then just eating some special healthy diet or exercising more isn’t going to cure it. It might help, it might hurt, it might do nothing, but they’ve probably heard it before, and it’s none of your business in any case.
  • A person with OCD knows that checking or counting or whatever compulsion they perform won't really prevent disaster from happening, it’s just a compulsion. That doesn’t stop them from feeling the need to do it anyway.  A person with anxiety may know at least some of their fears are irrational or unlikely to occur. That doesn’t stop them from feeling anxious.  A person with trichotillomania may know it hurts them to pull out their hair or pick at their skin, but they have trouble stopping themselves anyway.  A depressed person may know they would feel better if they got out of their house and talked to people, but that doesn’t make them feel any more up to doing those things. A person who hallucinates may know the hallucinations aren’t real, but that doesn’t make them go away or feel less upsetting.  You see the pattern?  You can’t cure people with mental illnesses by telling them they’re being irrational or hurting themselves.  If it were that easy, they’d have cured themselves already.
  • Do not tell a person with ADHD or mental illness that they should not be taking medication.  This is a personal decision. Furthermore, since medications have wide-ranging effects on people’s bodies and minds and often unpleasant side effects, most people taking medications have thought through the issue, done a cost-benefit analysis, and decided that the ability to function better is worth it.  Their decision should be respected.
  • A disabled person with intellectual disability who has the academic or IQ abilities of, say, a seven year old does not actually have the mind of a seven year old. They have different life experiences, needs, stages of life, bodies, and so on.
  • If a disabled person is having a meltdown, they are not angry, they are terrified.  They’re not throwing a tantrum or being aggressive, they have gone into fight or flight. The best thing you can do is remain calm yourself and help them calm down. It may help to keep your distance, keep your voice low and calm, let them retreat to a safe place if they know to do that, or remind them to do so if they don’t.  Reasoning with them won’t work well because they’re unlikely to be able to hear and understand you.  The worst thing you can do is start yelling yourself, threatening them, be violent to them, cut off their escape route, or get right up in their personal space.  

Other ideas?  Please reblog and add more.  The more the merrier.

When audiences at disability conferences laugh instead of listening

A challenge to disability professionals and disabled presenters at conferences and panels: Please find a way to respond to the routine contempt that presenters with disabilities are treated with.

I’ve gone to a fair number of disability-related conferences in the past few years. At nearly every conference, I saw an audience laugh at a presenter/panelist with a developmental disability. This happened particularly often to presenters with intellectual disabilities, but I also saw it happen to autistic presenters and presenters with speech disabilities. 

This isn’t a matter of random jerk encounters; it’s a major cultural problem. Even disability professionals who pride themselves on inclusivity and respect tend to behave this way.

This isn’t nice laughter. It’s not a response to something funny. It’s a response to presenters talking about what they’re proud of, what they’re good at, or talking about wanting control over their own lives. People also laugh similarly when parents and siblings talking about their disabled relative wanting autonomy or objecting to being treated like a little child. This happens all the time, and it needs to stop.

If you’re moderating a panel and the audience laughs at a panelist, here’s one method for shutting this down:

Be proactive about taking the panelist seriously:

  • Don’t look at the audience while they’re laughing, and *especially* don’t laugh or smile yourself.
  • Wait for the audience to stop laughing.
  • Pause briefly before going on. This will make the laughter feel awkward.
  • Ask the panelist a question that makes it clear that you respect what they’re saying.
  • You can explicitly ask “Did you mean that seriously?”
  • You can also be a bit less direct, and say something like “That sounds important. Can you say more?”
  • You can also ask a follow-up question about the specific thing they were saying. 

I think that we all need to be proactive about changing this culture. (Including disabled presenters who get laughed at; we need to insist on being taken seriously. More on that in another post).

There are more ways to shut down disrespectful laughter and insist on respectful interactions than I know about. What are yours?

trans boys with cognitive disabilities are wonderful! <3 

trans boys with learning difficulties like dyslexia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia! 

trans boys with mild learning disabilities! 

trans boys with downs syndrome! 

trans boys with tourette’s syndrome! 

trans boys with adhd or add! 

trans boys on the autistic spectrum! 

trans boys with trichitillomania, dermatillomania, and other similar ocd conditions! 

you’re amazing, and so loved! <3 

if you’re going to talk about inaccessibility of information or elitism, the basis of your critique should be material inaccessibility & class barriers to gaining education & thus careers w/ prestige, not what language ppl use on the internet

is purposefully dense and ungrounded/ideological language used on purpose to exclude non-academics from writing & to make sure that whatever is written is useless? sure–just look at most of postmodernism

does that criticism apply to every leftist on the internet who uses a necessarily specialised vocabulary to get at what they’re talking about rather than having to make every point the length of a short novel? lol no

every field on god’s green earth has a specialised vocabulary. liberal SJ politics have a HIGHLY specialised vocabulary & a highly convoluted set of internally contradictory ideologies and mores to learn and failure leads to vilification and excommunication

and yet no one calls all of their rapidly shifting vocabulary and 50 new Latin affixes a week & adopted leftist vocabulary (modified to be more useless, see ‘intersectionality’) “inaccessible” for some reason

because the problem isn’t with how we’re expressing ourselves–it’s with what we’re saying. the concepts involved in truly liberatory politics fly in the face of value, retribution, respectability–capitalist concepts

the concepts involved in confronting white psychology (white sociopathy, white anxiety) fly in the face of individualist moral purity ‘accountability’-oriented politics, plus make people uncomfortable by demanding that poc are human and not accepting lip service on that point

again I think a few people are just unnecessarily dense on purpose–but it’s usually white leftists who view politics as a means of making a name for themselves, rather than as a site for love, empathy, liberation.

it’s not poc (trans women are another group I’ve seen this happen to) who are just trying to make sense of our/their experiences and lay the groundwork for a way out of exploitation and oppression–or at least a way to be treated better in the meantime

the problem isn’t that what we’re saying isn’t understandable if you put work into it (like you’d have to put work into anything else). it’s that people won’t put that work in because they don’t want to listen to us.

and then they hide behind “the working classes” to excuse their dismissal and their lack of effort, as if this isn’t incredibly chauvinistic. how can you say what other people can and cannot understand? how can you say how “dense” theory needs to be w/o having read into it?

I don’t doubt that much academic writing is inaccessible. I don’t doubt that’s it’s inaccessible on purpose. it is materially inaccessible, its language is veiled on purpose, what little it does say seems highly ideological

*where materially inaccessible = behind paywalls, inaccessible unless you’re enrolled in an institution that is an enormous investment of time and $$$$$ that many people do not have, are systematically prevented from having

my issue is with the rhetorical moves that 1. things written for no pay on.. twitter? tumblr? of all things? are “academic”, i.e. of the academy, just because people who have studied these things academically wrote them

2. that ALL writing that takes place under the aegis of the academy is automatically inaccessible and useless by very virtue of that fact. that ALL academic knowledge is useless

when in fact materialist analysis requires rigour and specificity, you have to study things in a way that is not ahistorical and that stands up to scrutiny, you have to use vocabulary in a generally agreed-upon way if it is to serve as shorthand. all of this requires study

to act as if ALL analysis that requires study is academic and that ALL academic work is useless is a pair of moves that forbids analysis in any meaningful way, that traps us in ideology, and that is thus–imo–reactionary

of course the subsuming of anti-capitalist work into the academy is very serious and needs to be contended with and that’s its own whole thread. but the people who cry inaccessibility about everything that has vocabulary they personally haven’t heard in it are not making such a sophisticated critique. they’re not making a critique at all. they’re just silencing.

*ALSO assuming what disabled people can and cannot understand and assuming that all people with cognitive / learning disabilities take in information in exactly the same way / that no one who writes using, a vocabulary, could possibly be disabled

as if calling people of colour “neurotypical” for talking about racism doesn’t have a long history in these spaces 😬😬😬


Please do not use The ‘R’ Word

Tumblr is my fun place, so I don’t usually get into this here, but… reasons. 

Lovely people here sometimes use the word ‘Retard’ or ‘Retarded’ or some variation (ie ’________-tard’) and those lovely people do NOT mean anything at all against people with cognitive or physical disabilities.  

I understand. I get it.  Seriously!  I’m not being sarcastic at all.  This is on my mind in the friendliest of ways.  I don’t mean to embarrass or offend.  I just hope to help you understand.

My younger son was born with Down syndrome. He’s doing well (learning, growing, healthy) and I adore him. I’m proud of him. But, for me, slurs against people with disabilities strike a painful nerve.  It’s personal.  It brings up every fear I’ve ever had about my son being bullied or abused.  It hurts.  I can’t step off this soapbox.  Life put me on it for keeps.  

So, please, consider your language. ;)  Help End the ‘R’ Word.

Thank you.

Embarrassing admission:  I’m a savant.  Stick with me and I’ll explain, but it’ll take awhile.

Understand that I’m not saying this to brag.  This is not easy for me to admit to myself, let alone anybody else.  It’s taken me over a year to write this.It’s actually as difficult for me to discuss this as it is for me to discuss the fact that I actually have coprolalic vocal tics.  In fact autistic people’s discussions of savant skills often resemble Touretters’ discussion of coprolalia:  There’s a tendency to try to make out like they’re much rarer than they are.  

About 10% of Touretters are thought to have coprolalia, that is vocal tics that sometimes involve involve swearing or other offensive words (like slurs).  It’s embarrassing to Touretters as a whole because to a lot of people Tourette’s is like a punchline to a joke about cussing.  Similarly, about 10% of autistic people are thought to have savant skills (I suspect the number is higher), and autistic people are just as embarrassed by the fact that savant skills have become a stereotype.  10% is one in ten people. That’s not actually the tiny minority that people would have you think it is.  And I do believe savant skills are under-reported for reasons I’ll get into later.

Some background about myself

I was first recognized as being autistic at the age of fourteen.  I was in a mental institution following a suicide attempt, at the psychiatrist I got was randomly assigned.  In other words, he had no reason to be specifically looking for or expecting autism when I first became his patient.  I would remain his patient until his retirement and subsequent death in my twenties.

Anyway, after he met me, he asked to meet with my parents.  My mother describes him interviewing her extensively about my early development, asking pointed questions about certain things.  She said he very quickly said of me, “Your daughter sounds like an idiot savant.”

A note on terminology

Idiot savant sounds outdated or downright rude, depending on your take on things.  Even in 1995 when this was taking place.  To understand what he was saying, you have to understand the history of terminology around savant skills as well as his own personal history.

So first off – my doctor was old.  He was trained and did his residency at a time when Southern mental institutions were still fully and officially segregated by race.  His age and specialty in child psychiatry meant that he had met a lot of children over the years, including a lot of autistic children.  It also meant that he used a lot of terminology that would at best be considered quite old-fashioned today, because he learned his clinical vocabulary in probably the early sixties.

Idiot savant does not mean a specific type of savant.  It has nothing to do with the outdated classification of idiot which usually meant what today would be referred to as a severe and/or profound intellectual disability.  There was never an IQ cutoff for being an idiot savant.  Idiot savant meant “wise idiot” and was meant to cover the unevenness of cognitive skills that was characteristic of cognitively disabled people with savant skills.

So him saying I was an “idiot savant” would be the same way that someone today would say “Your daughter has savant syndrome.”  He was not making a judgement about my IQ, which at the time had only tested as high, at the age of five, largely due to the effects of hyperlexia, a learning disability involving early reading ability usually combined with comprehension issues, that is in some contexts itself considered a form of savant skill.

People talked about idiot savants, and then it became autistic savants (except that this term would only be applied to autistic people, who are not the only people with savant skills), and these days it’s savant syndrome. You don’t need a cognitive impairment of any kind (such as autism or intellectual disability) to be a savant:  There are a lot of blind savants, for instance.  Today people mostly just say savant or savant syndrome.  

But definitely understand that idiot savant was its own term, separate from both low IQ/intellectual disability in general and the classification of idiot in particular. In fact, very few people identified as savants throughout history, including when the term idiot savant existed, have ever fallen into the official classification of idiot or any of the terms that replaced it.  

The confusion people have about the technical term idiot savant (mistakenly relating it to idiot in particular or intellectual disability in general) is very similar to the confusion over the term psychomotor retardation.  Psychomotor retardation refers to a mental and physical slowing associated with certain medication side effects as well as a number of conditions such as depression.  It has absolutely nothing to do with the category called mental retardation, a recent but now outdated term for intellectual disability.  They both have the word retardation in them because it means slow, but they refer to entirely different types of (purported) slowness.

Back to my own history

So he called me an idiot savant before he even used the word autistic to describe me.  Both words came up in the first few sentences of that conversation, but idiot savant was the term that came up first.  Savant skills were the first unusual thing he recognized in me.  Within a month, after further interviews, conversations, interaction, observation, and formal testing, as well as consultation with a team of psychiatric and neurologic professionals, he diagnosed me with autism.  Within the description of my diagnosis, he mentioned idiot savant qualities.

The actual autism diagnosis happened in a way that was extremely common in the nineties.  He knew that I met the full criteria for autism.  He told my mother I was simply autistic.  But in the nineties, saying someone was autistic was equivalent to saying “This person will never improve, all therapy is wasted, don’t spend any more money on them than it takes to permanently institutionalize them.”  He knew it would be terrible if the insurance company took this take on me – which they were already trying to do without that encouragement.  So on paper, he alternated between saying I had a complex and diagnostically confusing developmental disability, and saying I specifically had PDDNOS or atypical autism.  Using PDDNOS/atypical autism as a substitute for a flat-out autism diagnosis was extremely common in the 1990s and had nothing to do with whether you actually met full criteria for autism.  

My diagnosis was changed to autistic disorder later on by the same doctor, after the danger had passed and an autism expert had suggested making the change but suggested I go back to the psychiatrist who knew me the best to confirm that this was an accurate thing to do, since the expert in question did not know my family or have years of observation and testing to go on, whereas my psychiatrist did.  This was after a bunch of misdiagnoses that would take way too long to explain but that were also quite common in the nineties, in fact some of them were among the most common psychiatric misdiagnoses of autistic people.

The savant thing

So… at the time of my autism diagnosis, autism was an abstraction, and a word I did not understand how it applied to my life.  Words like ‘underlying developmental disability’ and ‘pervasive developmental disorder’ and really anything with ‘developmental’ in it might as well have been gibberish.  Even when I heard these things over and over, most of the time I ignored them.  I’d occasionally read a book by Donna Williams or Temple Grandin, identify to one degree or another, but not grasp what autism was any better for having read these things.  And most of the time, while others in my life apparently thought about this diagnosis a good deal, I didn’t.  The savant stuff was way under my radar most of the time as well.

I was an adult before I understood why I was diagnosed with autism.  I was also an adult before I really saw that I’d been labeled as having savant skills or savant qualities, and before my mother told me the story of my initial diagnosis. And to be honest, I mostly ran away from the label, inside my head, and neither said much about it nor thought about it any more than I had to.

Like many autistic people, I was conscious that the popularity of Rain Man had caused people to view autism as inevitably involving savant skills.  Being a savant had become a stereotype.  And Rain Man was an unusually talented savant.  Most savants have neither his degree of savant skills nor his sheer number of savant skills.  He was based on a small number of real people, most notably Kim Peek, who had agenesis of the corpus calosum and a huge number of highly impressive savant skills.

Like many other autistic people, I was very critical of the concept of savant skills.  I thought it was just a way of passing off talents as somehow unexpected or pathological or both, when they happened in disabled people.  I thought it was just a shorthand for giftedness, a concept I have a great deal of trouble accepting as real or useful, at least not as it’s currently defined.  And in many cases it has been used in these ways and autistic people are correct to be suspicious and critical.

And honestly I was afraid of it.  For reasons I still can’t articulate, it really terrified me to face the idea that I might be a savant for real.  But as I discovered, I am.

What kinds of savant are there?

One of the things that had me confused about savant skills was that, like many  people, when I think of savant skills, I think of the most extreme skills.  Those are also the rarest kind of savant skills.  Prodigious savants, as such people are called, are uncommon.  They have never been the most common kind of savant at any stage in the development of the idea of savants in general.

So here are the modern, official classifications of savant.  Remember here that I don’t make up the words for each kind of savant skills and may not  like  them.

  • Splinter skills are the least spectacular kind of savant skill.  They represent talents that are highly impressive specifically when compared with the cognitive difficulties the person has in other areas.  They are very common among savants.
  • Talented savants are savants with talents that are likewise in contrast the person’s difficulties, but they would very obviously be things the person would be considered talented for regardless of disability or lack thereof. They are also pretty common among savants.
  • Prodigious savants are the rarest kinds of savants.  They are people who have skills that would be considered not only highly talented but well beyond the range most people even consider humanly possible for someone to have a skill in.  Like the way Stephen Wiltshire can fly over a city once and then do a detailed and almost entirely accurate sketch of he entire panoramic view from memory.

Knowing these categories, I can see that I have a lot of splinter skills and sometimes veer into the realm of talented savant.  This is a much better representation of my areas of talent than te concept of giftedness in general is, because the the term savant refers to a talent in a relatively narrow area surrounded by areas of great difficulty.  That contrast has been a fact of life for me forever.  Like back when my hyperlexia gained me a high IQ at a time when I literally didn’t know what the word test meant.

Hyperlexia is something that’s sometimes considered a savant skill and sometimes not.  In my case, I feel like it is, because it’s an extreme and isolated talent that came seemingly out of nowhere and that is accompanied by extreme cognitive difficulties in areas that most people would assume to be related to the areas of talent.

I also had musical savant skills.  Perfect pitch is another thing that’s considered a savant skill some of the time and not others.  But the fact that I was first chair, first violin in the junior high orchestra by the age of seven, I can’t read that as anything other than an obvious foray into the realm of talented savant.

Up until I was in my early twenties, I had a spatial (not visual – closer to kinesthetic, or the way blind people map space) map in my head of every place I had ever been, indoors or outdoors.  I never got lost.  Ever.  I don’t know why I lost this but while I had it, I can’t see it as anything but a savant skill.  My mother, who has severe spatial awareness problems (she’s very visual – she and I are opposite kinds of proof that visual and spatial are not the same skill), has used me as a navigator since I was a small child,

I also have something that I feel like must be extremely common and not usually recognized at all.  I would call it a partial savant skill.  It’s a skill that isn’t quite a skill because it has no outlet.  I am constantly composing detailed, complex, original cello music without even trying.  But with no way to play it in realtime, and no way to write it down (translating to musical notes is a laborious, slow process for me), the music remains in my head and never shared with the world.  So I don’t know that this counts as a “real”savant skill by objective measures, but it feels like a savant skill with a  crucial piece missing.  I wonder how many people have partial and/or unexpressed savant skills like this.

I think my art (specifically, painting in recent years) falls somewhere in the category of either splinter skill or talented savant skill.  Which may always be a subjective thing, and it’s difficult to judge the quality of your own work.  But this has less to do with some objective measure of quality, and more to do with the way in which the art takes place and the way the skill developed and functions.  Savant skills are more than just the presence of an unexpected skill, there’s specific ways they are learned and function in a person that mark them out as different from your average talent of the same level.

And people do hide their savant skills sometimes, even when they are obvious savant skills.  I am not open about all of my savant skills.  Additionally, not all savant skills are in areas where people normally look for savant skills.  The current savant experts focus almost entirely on certain areas for savant skills, to the exclusion of other skill areas.  

Additionally, many disabled people develop skills that are entirely unknown to nondisabled people and therefore unmeasured and not accounted for in descriptions of possible savant skills.  It is entirely possible, in fact probably common, for people to have savant skills in these unmeasured skill areas.  I am no exception to this.   I have savant skills I can’t even describe because nobody has ever acknowledged the existence of the skills in question never mind come up with language for them.

Anyway, I eventually realized it was important that I face the fact that I have savant skills.  It’s more than a little embarrassing.  It’s not something I wanted to admit to myself.  I’ve spent over a year agonizing about how to articulate what I’d found out about myself.  As well as whether to tell anyone about it at all.

I know a lot of people don’t believe savant skills are a thing.  I have read several books on the topic and concluded that they are a thing.  And that they apply to my life.  I’m not capable of explaining all the details.  And calling something a savant skill is and should be very different than just a way of saying that someone disabled has a talent or qualifies for some definitions of giftedness.  (In fact, I don’t believe in any common concept of giftedness that I’ve ever heard of.  I do, however, now believe in savant skills.  They’re entirely different ideas.)

Anyway, I can’t explain why this was so hard to believe, herd to face up to, and hard to admit.  But it was.  I still can’t escape the fact that I have savant skills, and I’m better off not trying to escape or deny it any longer.  I have to admit that the doctor who first categorized me as autistic was right about the savant thing as well.  As I said, i’m not bragging.  I’m simply publicly admitting that my combination of skills and difficulties – both current and past, since some skills have vanished and others have appeared over time – fits the savant pattern perfectly, both in areas that are usually widely recognized as common savant skills and in areas they would never even notice.

anonymous asked:

Hey um, i'm curious of something, How would the off colours look or appear in your universe? also how've ya been :)

{ I was thinking something along the lines of this (story wise, im still kinda finalizing the designs )

Flourite is a Grandma that lives in beach city! She’s pretty big, around 6′’5′’ and she’s a part of a polyamourous relationship. Her partners are traveling the world at the moment (she prefers to stay at home) but she has pictures and knick nacks all around her house from them! 

The Rutile twins were cajoined at birth and had surgery to separate them (they have a prosthetic leg) and their surgery scar makes a cute little Y shape (like their gem) if they stand together (which they do often) They do everything together and are like #sisterGoals tbh, very very sweet

Rhodinite just moved to beach city and she’s just came out with her sexuality so shes a bit nervous around all these new faced and is still coming into herself. But she met the others and is flourishing into a bright and happy young lady. (she also met ruby and sapphire and was just star stuck  because one, they ARE kinda famous and 2, they were big inspirations with her coming out!)

Padparadscha is Sapphire’s cousin! She has some cognitive disabilities and tends to be a bit late with reacting. She was just visiting for a bit but ended up loving beach city so much that she moved here!

They all form a book club and Lars joins later on. The book club also doubles as a kinda motivational one too. Those off colors stick together! They get matching jackets and hang at the big doughnut a lot :3 Flourite makes them slow down and really savor what the book has to offer, the Rutile twins always are excited over the book and tend to finish eachothers sentences as they explain, Padparadscha tends to go back on topics already discussed but its nice and they like going back and really going in depth on those parts and Lars and Rhodinite are PROS at finding themes and interpreting different messages in the work!]

next up on Recovered Potterhead Bitches About JKR – what the fuck is this woman’s deal with splitting characters into a stupid/clever dichotomy? and what is her issue with people she doesn’t consider to be smart?

Dudley is a bully (and he’s fat! remember, fat = evil in HP!) and he is cartoonishly unintelligent. As a real person, he obviously has a severe cognitive or developmental disability. But he’s written like a damn looney toon. And there’s the implications that Dudley beats up smart kids because he’s mad that they’re smart and he’s not. As if it’s the non-disabled kids getting bullied by the disabled kids.

Next is Crabbe and Goyle. Neither of them have much characterization beyond “Malfoy’s dumb toadies”. Malfoy is smart, sure, but yes meant to be a rival. He has to match Harry, who is Smart. But his friends are dumb because only dumb people get manipulated, I guess. and that’s their fault for being stupid in the first place, right?

even Neville, who is a forgetful, bumbling, nervous boy who doesn’t do well in school isn’t truly allowed to be “stupid”. (He’s another character who is implied to be fat but is never described with that word). Instead, Neville excels in herbology and does pretty well in charms.

Another character who gets a similar treatment to Neville is Ron. Ron is bad at potions–not that there’s any repurcussions for that–but is great at chess by the time he’s 11. He’s a tactician and real brave and shit. So yeah, lol Ron is so dumb, but he doesn’t get to be dumb like Crabbe and Dudley. He has to be The Best at something, because good guys are complete idiots, right?

To some people this is probably sweet. They might read it as a message that being bad at school doesn’t mean you can’t be smart. But here’s the thing:

What the FUCK is wrong with not being smart, Joanne Rowling?

WHY is unintelligence a trait reserved for your villains? Why do your “dumb” good guys have splinter skills and redeeming qualities but your bad guys don’t? Why did you feel the need to assure us that Neville and Ron weren’t really stupid? Why is stupidity a mortal sin in your world?

Why are your mentally disabled characters locked away in a hospital instead of at home with their families who still love them?

anyway Joanne Rowling can kiss my ass

((I apologize if any of my wording here is offensive to other disabled people. it’s about half not knowing the best way to phrase things, and half being an angry autistic w/adhd yelling about this woman’s ableist bullshit. Feel free to correct me on my phrasing and word choice.))

Holy fuck so...

…I was looking for a book about hiring live-in caregivers, but ended up with a book about being a live-in caregiver instead.  And the instructions for caring for seniors with dementia include the following gem:

Don’t give the person a chance to refuse.  Use positive language and encouragement.  For instance, do not say, “Would you like to eat?”  Instead say, “It’s time for lunch.”

Later, there’s this, as well (not dementia-specific, in a section about depression as a stage of grief in people with a chronic or terminal illness):

Third, insist that your loved one continue to participate in activities of daily living as long as he or she is still capable.  You may feel like a bully at first, but it’s perfectly possible to be both gentle and firm.  “Mom, push up with your legs when I lift you.  Otherwise, we might both fall and get hurt.”  Or, “Dad, I need you to shave yourself.   You know I always cut you when I try to shave you, so please help me out.”

That feeling of being a bully?  That’s your frigging conscience trying to say something.  Don’t let yourself be trained into ignoring that feeling.  Wow.  I’m just shocked this book is coming out and talking about ways to manipulate disabled people into doing what you want us to.  I’ve experienced both of the above and they both suck.

In particular, when my myasthenia gravis/adrenal insufficiency combo was so bad I could barely lift my head, I would have emergency room workers say things like “Oh come on and help me, I’m not going to lift you, you know!”  Like.. don’t they realize that it’s way easier for me if they don’t lift me, too, so like, if I could just get up and move I’d be doing it already?  And it’s got to be in my file at that point that I’m there for severe weakness in which I just fell down and couldn’t get off the floor, so……??  Yeah.  It’s humiliating to be subjected to that.

It’s also humiliating – even worse, really – when you can do something, but only with extreme pain and effort, and you have people trying to “encourage” you to push yourself hard enough to do that, when you know that pushing yourself is dangerous enough it could lead to Really Bad Things.  I had to fire a physical therapist at one point, in the hospital, because she thought that if two people could help me, screaming and crying the entire way from pain (and I don’t scream or cry as a result of pain very easily at all, most doctors consider me remarkably stoic), onto a bedside commode, and then get me back in bed, then I should be doing this, rather than using the bedpan.  I told them I’d use the bedpan until my body was good and ready to get up, at which point I would be thrilled to use the commode because bedpans suck.  

Of course this is the same hospital where when I became so weak I shit the bed, their worry was not “Why is this person so much weaker than sie should be for hir medical condition?” (which could’ve resulted in a diagnosis of adrenal insufficiency much earlier than I was actually diagnosed, if they’d checked into it seriously enough), their worry was “If sie thinks she can get away with shitting the bed, sie will never use a toilet again.”  I don’t understand what these people think is so appealing about bedpans or shitting the bed, that they imagine people would choose it if we had any other option that was viable and wouldn’t hurt us more.

Anyway, rant over, I just can’t believe this book has little sections on how to manipulate disabled people and not feel guilty about it.

Can we talk about how autism discourse often revolves around throwing people with intellectual disabilities (and other cognitive stuff) under the bus? Like I’m reading something and it involves literally saying “well at least autistic people can actually be really smart and not have cognitive/intellectual disabilities!”

First, autism and intellectual disability are not mutually exclusive.

Second, intellectual disability does not preclude meaningful lives. Intellectual disability does not mean people cannot have input on their own lives and choices.

Stop talking about it like autism is higher up on a hierarchical scale and that’s why autistic people are worth something.

People are worth something because they are people.


Fiction versus fact, Down Syndrome

Fiction: Down syndrome is a rare genetic disorder.

Fact: Down syndrome is the most commonly occurring genetic condition.

Fiction: All people with Down syndrome have a severe cognitive disability.

Fact: Most people with Down syndrome have a mild to moderate cognitive disability, or intellectual disability.

Fiction: Most children with Down syndrome are born to older parents.

Fact: Eighty percent of children born with Down syndrome are born to women younger than age 35.

Fiction: People with Down syndrome are always happy.

Fact: People with Down syndrome experience a full range of emotions just like anyone else. 



SUBMITTED by becominganideal

Being:It’s funny to use that word, since so much of my time is preoccupied with where I am going, not where I am. I often see myself as an unfinished project, something that has potential but has yet to realize it. I worry, even fear, that this will remain reality. That one day I’ll look back regretfully at my wasted time-filled life, wishing I had done better. It feels like a low grade headache. Annoying and sometimes it gets uncomfortable enough to do something about it, but only until something else occupies my attention.

When I am not overthinking my future, I do pretty well interacting with my environment. I know who I am and what matters most to me. A few years ago, I impulsively jumped on the chance to help run the group of friends I play games with online. I’m surprisingly good at wielding authority and power in groups. I have an instinctive ability to read others and help them understand each other. I am patient, but firm about rules (I made most of them). I still struggle administering discipline, but it has gotten easier as I get older and more set in my principles.

I’m an EMT. While I don’t have the uncanny ability to read my immediate environment like a sensor might, I am very comfortable using my intuition to understand what a patient’s symptoms and complaints indicate about their health. I trust my partner to notice the things that I don’t, while I focus on my patient’s needs. I don’t do my work for the excitement, but I am a bit of an adrenaline junkie. I love handling a crisis and being the calm in a storm.

I cherish a lot of private beliefs and ideals. I rarely express them, even to my close friends. I’m happy to talk to almost anyone about their beliefs and opinions, but I’m unlikely to interject my own in the conversation.

However, I have become increasingly willing and able to call people out when they act or speak in a way that violates my morals and ethics. I am fiercely protective of those I care about, to the point of physical confrontation, if needed. I never get riled up on my own behalf, but injustice towards others makes me go from 0 to 60 in a heartbeat.

Others’ Perceptions: I have a lot of trouble feeling sure of how others view me. So this part comes with the disclaimer that I don’t vouch for its accuracy.

Things people have told me:

I’m aggressive when playing games cooperatively. I push for domination and control in competitive situations. (I blame both of these on my well developed Te). I am told that I am excruciatingly fair and reasonable to people under my authority.

People often remark at how well I seem to read them and understand their motivations. Sometimes they even get uncomfortable at how much an open book they are to me. My closer circles will occasionally comment at how gentle I am with with people who are limited in some way (age, disability, mental cognition). My ENFP friend will often compliment my ability to get to the heart of a matter, especially if it concerns our shared beliefs.

Things I think others notice without telling me:

I’m very stubborn about certain things. I get bossy and even rude when my position is challenged. I do not enjoy breaking my arguments down logically. I bitch hard about my job and can seem like I hate it, even though it’s usually just blowing off steam so I can move on to the next patient in need of my attention. I think people are surprised at how fast I can go from relaxed and friendly to “HELL NO!” when it comes to my values.

INFP Stereotypes: Daydreamers, unrealistic idealists. Are actually Cinnamon Rolls (look it up, it’s funny). Unsure of themselves and unable to commit to anything. Angsty and moody all the time. Depressed little emo children that can’t handle the real world. ADHD spazzcats about their interests (I fully own this one). Delicate little snowflakes that can’t handle criticism.

I submit that we are all of these things… for a time. And then we grow and become something else.

Fibromyalgia is...

Not being in a state where you can use your eyes much, if at all, because of the amount of pain/symptoms affecting them. 

(Such as:

-light sensitivity [light causes significant-extreme pain, contrast is off so everything is too bright to see with surrounding areas too dark in comparison to see, depth/object perception is skewed, etc.]

-dry eyes [makes eyes much more sensitive to light, air, scents, smoke, etc. Causes pain such as burning/stinging/scrapping etc., and makes eyes hard to move because of lack of lubrication.]

-muscle fatigue and spasms [if muscles aren’t responding correctly it can’t properly move from side to side to pick up information, and your pupil cannot properly expand and contract affecting focus and light intake. It can also cause eyes to become crossed or separated which in turn causes blurred/double vision, dizziness etc. Eyelids also can get in the way of being able to see if affected by spams/fatigue etc.]

-nerve pain/fatigue [since nerves are vital to process visual input, it can cause pain to increase significantly in the nerve pathways between the eyes and brain and signals can get dropped due to the fatigue.]

-cognitive difficulties [if your brain is very foggy it can be challenging for your body to processes the information being sent from your eyes, so you may not be able to make sense of what you may be seeing.] )

The tl;dr version of my post about cognitive disability and academic communication styles in social justice circles.

I’m usually very bad at summarizing my longer posts.  In fact, it’s usually impossible.  This upsets me a lot because it means that a lot of my posts are unreadable to a lot of people.  Sometimes, though, I’m able to summarize things.  I’ve been able to do it here.  

If you want to read the whole, original post, click here:  Cognitively disabled people DO get to complain about jargon, academia, etc. in our movements.  Seriously, we do.

But here’s the basic gist of what I’m saying:

  • Academic language and academic communication styles have become an enormous part of social justice movements both online and in universities.
  • This language and communication style is impossible for a lot of people to understand.  Most ordinary people can’t understand it.  Many oppressed people have particular trouble understanding it.  Many cognitively disabled people will never understand it.
  • I am not telling anyone to give up academic language or communication styles.  Some people can’t (including because of disabilities), some people won’t.  I’m just trying to say that there’s something wrong when an entire movement is based on these communication styles, to the point you have to be able to understand it and use it in order to participate fully.
  • On tumblr, people who bring this up often get told it doesn’t exist, and that what we call ‘academic’ is just ‘people talking about their lives’.  This is partly because academia has so thoroughly shaped how oppressed people in certain social movements talk about their lives, that people really do think this is how you talk about your life if you’re oppressed, period.
  • I posted a long list of words that create little explosions in my head every time I read them, that are used in social justice circles constantly.  My intent is not to tell people not to use those words.  It’s to prove that yes, there is jargon, I am not imagining this or making things up.
  • I am, myself, oppressed in many different ways.  Fighting oppression is a survival issue for me.  I’m also cognitively disabled in ways that make these academia-influenced social circles very, very difficult for me to communicate within or understand.  I’m not writing this just to bother people (I’m no more anti-SJ than I’m SJ), I’m writing this because for my own survival I need social movements to be accessible to people like me.
  • Ordinary people, all over the world, fight oppression in amazing ways.  Without ever coming up with new jargon, without forming academic departments at universities, without engaging in sophisticated academic argumentation styles, without becoming inaccessible to ordinary people.
  • People need to stop denying that this stuff is academic in nature.  Right now it seems like people will admit it’s academic if it gives them more credibility (“it’s not just tumblr, this is how Real Sociologists talk!”), but if anyone says it makes things inaccessible, suddenly they say “There’s nothing academic going on here, nothing at all.”  This makes it impossible to address the problem.
  • People can still do their academic stuff it they want to or need to.  I’m not stopping anyone.  I just really, really don’t think this stuff should be at the core of any movement that seeks to end oppression.  Because that just makes things impossible for a lot of people, including the people who most need these movements.
  • My dream is exactly that:  Ordinary people, including cognitively disabled people, fighting oppression.  Talking about our oppression without needing fancy words.  Fighting oppression without needing academic argumentation tactics.  Doing all these things, without needing this academic stuff.  I know it’s already happening offline, everywhere around the world, in fact.  But I’d like to see it happen on places like tumblr, too.
  • It’s possible to be intellectual without being academic.  I do it all the time.
  • Not all cognitively disabled people have the same problems with the same stuff.  Some cognitively disabled people even need to communicate in an academic style.  But there’s a huge number of cognitively disabled people who can’t participate in these discussions because both the language and the entire structure and mentality of the discussion is too academic in a way that we can’t penetrate no matter how hard we try.  Some of us stick around and tough it out and try to change things, but more walk away on sight.  And lots of ordinary oppressed people have the same reaction.

And even though that was kind of long, that was much shorter than the original post.  If you want more detail, see the original post, it’s lots more detailed and may clarify some things that I leave out here.

I’m like, wild disgusted by terfs.

I mean, there are a lot of reasons but my top ones are:

1. The colonialist prioritization of the western gender binary in spite of multiple genders being historically, culturally and globally supported AND current western biologists shaking their head and whispering “no ur wrong things are more diverse, pls stop”, and entire platforms of terf analysis regarding power being based upon this. 

2. The fact that most terfs are also swerfs, Probably because when you view yourself as a diviner of acceptable types of women who deserve protection, of course sex workers (and probably a bunch of other women) tend not to…………..qualify.

3. Speaking of “not qualifying: The hella abelism. Just abelism everywhere. Abelism in ideology, abelism in slogans and merch, abelism not being challenged within the community. abelism towards women with physical disabilities, abelism towards women with reproductive issues, Abelism towards cognitively disabled women and women on the spectrum and women who are neurodivergent.  And in all cases when I’ve seen it and people have been like “hey stop” the rhetoric in return is “You know what we REALLY meant. Stop complaining, everything we’re doing is for the greater good.”

4. “Terf is a slur”. No it is not.  Its an acronym that describes specific ideology. It stands for Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist which is exactly what they are doing. It wasn’t designed to disparage, dehumanize or disrespect terfs like actual slurs. Its a word like “X-Ray”. You like excluding trans people? you’re trans exclusionary then. This isn’t hard or mysterious. Just because a lot of people immediately recoil from terfs doesn’t mean its a slur, it means that they’re uncomfortable with the ideology that is the words that make up the acronym and the people who uphold those values. Also appropriating the concept of a slur is disgusting and self serving. 

5. The amount of energy spent hunting trans women in particular. Literally hunting them online and harassing them. Hunting a group of women that are so systematically disadvantaged and few in number, and in constant physical danger. So much energy put towards hunting them and doxing them and arguing with them. Why? Why?????? Leave them alone?? Let them live??? Focus on something else, there are tons of awful things to focus on????

6. Also, something about their inability to see trans women as deserving of protection actively creeps me out. That they can see things like men oppressing women and get how bad it is. But not understand that trans women get a heaping helping of sexism as is leveraged towards women, plus the kind of sexism people leverage towards men (given to them by people who perceive them as men), and then transphobia on top of that (which usually ends in murder) and not think “Wow that sounds bad. I hope they’re okay.” creeps me out. Like in a “i can’t have empathy for anyone who is not like me” sort of way. 

7. Terfs who are very well educated about all of the above but still find time and energy to be awful.  There are a decent amount of people who literally know none of the above and the simplistic “bio women should be prioritized always because they never have in all of history” concept is a decent lure, cause on the surface it sounds broad and reasonable. But when you’re sitting on all this knowledge about gender and culture and abelism, and sex work and racism and history and being nice to trans people costs no money and doesn’t even hamper the effectiveness of your movement, why??? why hunt them and be cruel to them??? 

If you are a terf please do not follow me. Like please leave.