disabled-youth

"Have fun" should not be a rule

A lot of summer camps, youth groups, and other activities have a “have fun” rule.

The implied message is usually: This is a fun place. If you’re not having fun, you’re doing something wrong. Fix your attitude and have fun doing the fun activities.

Sometimes “have fun” rules are explicit. Sometimes they’re more implicit, and come in forms like: making people sing a song every day about how much they love camp, announcements about “we’re all having so much fun!”, or whatever else.

The problem with this is: nothing is fun for everyone. People have the right to feel how they feel about things. It’s really degrading to tell an unhappy person that they should just feel some other way.

“Have fun” rules are especially problematic for many disabled people.

Because — most programs are not fully accessible, even when they think they are. Most of us expect to encounter activities that are inaccessible in ways that make participation impossible — or that make them no fun.

And often, initially fun activities are ruined when someone treats you in a degrading way or says something awful about disability.

Being left out when everyone else is having fun is bad enough. When there’s a “have fun” rule, it’s even worse. Not only are you hurt by the exclusion, you’re told that you’re violating the rules by being hurt and unhappy.

“Have fun” rules make it really hard to solve these problems, because they make it risky to admit that you’re not having a good time.

“Have fun” rules make problems harder to solve, even when the problem has a straightforward solution. All the more so when the problem is complicated. (Or only has a partial solution.)

“Have fun” rules actually make things a lot less fun.

Homeless in Western North Carolina?

I’m lucky enough to own my home and want it to be known as a safe place for disabled, chronically ill, mentally ill, LGBTQA+, abuse survivors, PoC, youth, and any marginalized people out there that are facing homelessness or an unsafe living situation to come for help. I live off SSI and don’t have many opportunities to help with donations, but I have land you can camp on, kitchen and bath access, and if everyone feels safe indoor bedspace as well.
Please signal boost and share with people in my geographic area.

Pro bono (free) legal services

Myself and some other attorneys have been working to not only provide free legal services in the Philadelphia are but match people up with competent attorneys around the county. In the wake of the recent election, we acknowledge that the legal landscape is undergoing a dramatic shift and community needs will be changing along with it. Now is the time to get our house in order and do as much as we can to protect ourselves and each other. We are expressly and unequivocally committed to prioritizing the needs of Queer, Trans, BIPOC, Youth, Disabled, Undocumented, and other marginalized communities most vulnerable in the uncertain times to come.

We will be connecting people with competent attorneys in their local area who can advise and represent them for no charge. We have identified the following time-sensitive priorities that we will be focusing on:

1. Name and Gender Marker Changes
2. Identification Documents
3. Immigration Assistance
4. Criminal Records Expungement
5. Family Law
6. Healthcare Access

Feel free to message me if you have any questions or concerns. Again, here is the link to the form we’re using: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdlLXPop1NzlSKtnj9YZflf-6CrHrZ5yndcj4K-agSCkUZEag/viewform?c=0&w=1

I’m so terrified that I’m not going to be a person on Wednesday morning. I can’t vote. I don’t get a say. This election is making me physically ill. I’m begging you, as a 17 year old, disabled, queer youth, please vote Hillary. Please, don’t let Donald Trump become president. Don’t toss your vote away. You’re going to kill people like me. 

-Ryn

why do we never ever talk about disabled youth who take their lives? Or even, why do we never talk about disabled youth who have been murdered by their goverment/parents/guardians/doctors because their lives were deemed with no quality? Better yet, why dont we ever talk about disabled youth?

huffingtonpost.com
NYPD Sued After Officers Allegedly Beat Teen With Autism
The family of a Bronx teen with autism who was beaten by police in front of his home last year has filed an excessive force lawsuit against the New York City Police Department. The complaint filed

We must fight to protect ‪disabled‬ Black youth from police brutality. ‪

THIS CANNOT BE ALLOWED OR OVERLOOKED!!!!!!!  

#BlackLivesMatter  #BlackDisabledLivesMatter  #BlackAutisticLivesMatter  

housing needed in Philly

My dear friend Violet deerdyke is currently very much in need of housing or temporary accommodations in Philadelphia in the next two weeks. Vi is a trans woman trying to find a stable living situation in the city. She is able to pay rent as long as it is under 300, and is willing to sublet. Her main needs are that she has a private space to work. She would also strongly prefer to live with other transfeminine or queer people. Please message me or her if you have any information or know anyone who is looking for a roommate or who has space where she can stay until she finds something more permanent. Please share this post regardless.

youtube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGRZwWCfkio#t=385

This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Sisters, Eva and Melissa Shang, imagine a world where girls with disabilities matter. They discuss the importance of representation of disabilities in children’s toys and the power of kindness.

I say: Love how the elder sister is promoting self-advocacy and the young girl with a disability is a fabulous change-maker as demonstrated by her advocacy.

Why are teachers talking so much when there are many youth that are not auditory learners? Why can’t we include the senses in the classroom making it a true educational experience? How can we engage youth in an embodied education while dealing with the confines of dysfunctional school system? A dysfunctional world.

We may not be perfect but we make it work to the best of our abilities. And the youth still learn and grow.

We can’t forget that we come from strength. Youth are thriving and resilient because they come from survivors.

Dear Bullying Victim,

Being bullied is no fun, regardless of your race, sex, disability, who you choose to love, your size, or your family situation.

No one should ever allow bullying to happen. Nobody deserves it! You should stand up for yourself no matter how hard it is. Remember you are brave and strong, people bully others because they feel unhappy about themselves and it’s not always about you. They do they do it to feel good, and making fun of someone makes them feel they have higher power. When really they are really below you.

If I could go back in time I would have told someone I trusted, and not kept it to myself. Keeping it all to myself only makes it worse. My advice for you is that if you are a victum of bullying go seek help, you should not go through this alone. I’m here for you.

Love,

Your Older Self

My Life In An Open Institution, Part 1

As many of you know, I have been living in an open institution for mentally ill and developmentally disabled youth for the last year. I have never really described my experience with institutionalization before, but I have decided to write a couple posts on the topic in an attempt to answer your questions. In this post I will try to give an overview of what my organization is and how it works. Before starting, I want to remind everyone that there isn’t one unambiguous institutionalization experience, and that people will have different experiences depending on many different factors such as type of organization, country, income, etc. This is an attempt at describing life in my institution - an open institution for mentally ill and developmentally disabled youth in Denmark - not an elaborate attempt at describing institutionalization in general. 

Money:

  • The institution is sponsored by the Danish state which means that your stay, including therapy, medication, food, housing, education and transport is free.
  • Each patient gets an allowance at about 300 kroner (40 dollars) a week that they can spend at will.
  • We also get 650 kroner (95 dollars) a month to buy new clothes and other necessities.
  • When moving in, we get to order furniture for an unspecified amount of money - usually about 5000 kroner (736 dollars) - to furnish our room.

Personnel: 

  • My Institution has at least one therapist in the house all the time with very few exceptions. The therapists often work 12 hour shifts. During the day - 8AM to 11PM - 2-5 therapists are available. During the night - 11PM to 8AM - one therapist is sleeping in the building.
  • One psychiatrist is associated with the institution. He has little contact with us in our everyday life and his main task is diagnosing us as well as administrating and prescribing medication.
  • One cleaning lady is hired full-time to make sure that the bathrooms, main areas and the kitchens are clean.
  • The therapists don’t just provide therapy, they also help out with cooking, cleaning, laundry and transport, etc. You don’t just go to a therapist when you want to discuss your feelings, you also go to them when you  need help doing your laundry or fetching a snack.
  • Each patient has two therapists assigned. They will work with and interact with other therapists as well but the two assigned therapists will be more actively involved with your life and treatment.

Patients:

  • Currently 10 people between the ages of 15 and 19 are living in the institution. The maximum capacity is 14.
  • We each have a room that we can furnish and decorate at will, only limitation being that we’re not allowed to paint the walls.
  • The time a patient is expected to spend living in this institution is between one and three years.
  • Young people between 15 and 23 years old can be institutionalized here if they due to mental illness(es) or developmental disability need more support, help and therapy in their everyday life than their parents and an out-patient program can provide.
  • Examples of diagnoses that several current patients have  are psychosis-spectrum disorders, anxiety disorders, Borderline Personality Disorder, depression, eating disorders and autism.

Education:

  • The majority of the patients have at some point dropped out of school or otherwise failed to keep up with the expected education level of someone there age.
  • The institution has a collaboration with a so-called special education school that kids and teens from various full-time institutions attend. The goal is to catch up on lost education so that the patient can take further education later on.

Chores:

  • Each patient has a daily chore that they are expected to perform with the assistance from a therapist. Examples of those chores are: doing laundry, cleaning room, preparing dinner, doing dishes, etc.
  • If a patient is unable to do their chore, a therapist can take over or the chore can be postponed to another day.

Internet:

  • The institution has free internet access from 5pm to 9pm during the week. Additional internet has to be bought and set up by then individual patient.

Privacy:

  • The patients cannot lock the door to their room under any circumstances. Everybody are required to knock before entering another person’s room, including therapists, but preventing a therapist from entering your room if they insist on it isn’t possible. 
  • There are locks on bathroom doors.

I will end this post here, feel free to ask clarifying questions or tell me what you want to hear about in my next post on the topic. I’m open to talk about all the different aspects of being institutionalized.