conuly: Fuzzy picture of the Verrazano Bridge. Quote in Cursive Hebrew (bridge)
Among Twists in Budget Woes, Tensions Over Teaching the Deaf

You should read the comments here and also here. Or maybe you shouldn't, as some of them are a little inane.

"I'm so glad my parents chose the path they chose!" Well, that's good, but when you start off with those words, the first thing I say is "Well, duh." Not only do you not know the alternative, but most people will tend to support what their parents did for them as children!

"As somebody with a hearing impairment for the past few months which will hopefully be cured soon, I think I understand this subject...." Is it just me, or is a recent, possibly short-term hearing impairment as an adult not even remotely the same as growing up deaf, or Deaf even? You may be right or you may be wrong, but your recent hearing impairment doesn't actually make you more credible, does it? (Then again, I get annoyed sometimes when people start off comments by throwing around their "credentials". Who can prove it?)

Read more... )

A Sleepaway Camp Where Math Is the Main Sport

Read more... )
conuly: image of a rubber ducky - "Somewhere, somehow, a duck is watching you" (ducky predicate)
Could Conjoined Twins Share a Mind?
There are pictures here
And a little blog post on how raising children with special needs can be so damaging to their typical sibllings.

The comments to the article are *mostly* okay, but there are several that are just as bad as you expect. My replies to these, in order are:

1. Four year old children are not inspirational simply because they exist
2. You are in no place to judge the quality of their life
3. Human lives are not valued according to how costly they are
4. It's not morally wrong to have an abortion, but it's ALSO not morally wrong to NOT have an abortion, have you ever heard of "choice"? Either of you?
4a. Yes, even if you're poor!
5. Yes, given the dentist's concerns, the juice in the sippy at bedtime is a bit distressing. Not actually abusive, but probably not the wisest decision. I'm glad to know that there's always a chance to rag on people who give their kids juice. Keeps my world steady!

Comments aren't closed, so you can still get in there and make a general comment to the point that disability and difference don't make your life not worth living!

Read more... )
conuly: Fuzzy picture of the Verrazano Bridge. Quote in Cursive Hebrew (bridge)
(Quite a lot of them have to do with the TSA situation, I'll try to group them together.)

Placards, kilts part of plans for scanner protests
Oversecured America
AP Exclusive: Color-coded terror alerts may end
Schneir on Security's recent update about it all
And an LJ link
An update from the ACLU saying the TSA isn't training its scanners
Why Cavity Bombs Would Make the TSA Irrelevant
TSA chief: Resisting scanners just means delays
For the First Time, the TSA Meets Resistance
TSA Chief: US Will Never Ease Screening Policy
You, apparently, can't just say "Screw it, I don't need to fly today"
Shirtless 8-Year-Old Boy Gets TSA Pat Down
A Pat's Papers article on flying dead bodies
And he happens to think the TSA blog is "actually sort of fun"

Whew! That's a lot!

Bizarre squidworm discovered

Behavior change causes changes in beliefs, not vice versa

On turkeys. Hey, could I raise my own heritage turkey for the holiday next year? You *can* keep poultry in the city if they aren't noisy. And we already have wild or feral turkeys in Staten Island, among other places.

On stuffing your turkey with White Castle burgers.

Coyotes have been released in Chicago to help keep down the rodent population. I suppose that's not very much different than encouraging peregrine* falcons in NYC.

*Peregrine means wandering, of course, and is related to the word pilgrim in the obvious way.

A fluffy little article on Yiddish.
And for that matter, you can check out a nifty language map to see where Yiddish is spoken in the US!

It's time to sign up for SantaThing. This also makes a good gift. However, I will get you nothing in return, so bear that in mind.

University Kicks Student With Down Syndrome Out Of Classroom; Other Students Protest And Are Ignored

On tattoos to improve/monitor your health

Our Disappearing Apples

On taxes

Some graphs on race and the death penalty

Obama, S. Korea leader agree to hold joint military exercise. If somebody manages to start the Korean war up again, I'll be very irked. I'm already irked, frankly, because I see the likelihood of this.

Allergic Teen Seeks High School Perfume Ban

Conservatives at odds with Vatican over condoms

Children Born 'Late Pre-Term' More Prone to Low IQ
Minnesota is using paperwork to deter induced labor

The use of braces for younger kids is increasing

And one from that's... just well-worth reading for the fun of it.

And FINALLY (I think) one on a school which banned... wait for it... wait for it...

conuly: image of Elisa Mazda (Gargoyles) - "Watcher of the City" (watcher of the city)
First, this one isn't really related to the others, but I'll link to it now anyway. Apparently the president gave a speech where he mispronounced one word out of many, he said "aks" or possibly "aksk" instead of "ask". Normally I'd give the "aks is a historically valid pronunciation of ask" lecture, but no worries, Rush Limbaugh gave it for me, saying:

“Obama can turn on that black dialect when he wants to and turn it off.”

This is because Limbaugh is one classy dude.

Now, the link above (and Language Log's second post on the subject here) take the view that this is the sort of speech error that people make all the time and that nothing more should be said on it.

I didn't see the original speech, so I'll just go with their interpretation but also add: Even if he was saying "aks" as his normal mode of speech (in the same way that Bush said "nucular" all the time), who cares? There's nothing wrong with it and we all understand it. And if he sometimes speaks in one dialect and sometimes in another, this is a bad thing? Since when? Having more than one way to speak can only help you in this world, how could it harm you in any way?

Of course, I'm missing the point, which was no doubt just a chance to go "Look, he's STILL BLACK, and I don't like that but if I say that outright people will think I'm an ass, because I am, so I'll pretend there's some reason for not liking him."


Now, we've got two... well, interesting links.

So first we have Representative Trent Franks, who seems to think... well, let me let him speak

And yet today, half of all black children are aborted. Half of all black children are aborted. Far more of the African-American community is being devastated by the policies of today than were being devastated by policies of slavery.

Yes, he actually went there. And he's not just an isolated loon, no, let's look at this article from the Times:

Read more... )

It's easy to try to brush off the promoted conspiracy theory as just that - a conspiracy theory. And you're probably right except that there were unethical and discriminatory practices not that long ago which did harm to black people (and poor people in general) and forced sterilizations did happen. This is no secret. So while I don't think there's any big conspiracy now, I can see why people can believe there might be.

Except, as always, the anti-abortion groups are taking this from the wrong angle. Look, I'm as happy as anybody to see a sweet little baby whose parents are glad to have him. But people don't have abortions just for fun, or just because they've been misled into thinking they can't take care of a child (when really they can). They have abortions because, hey, they can't take care of a kid. If they think they can't, they're probably right.

If there's a conspiracy here, it's not with the abortion providers. It's with the people who, time after time, enact laws which help the rich at the cost of the poor. It's with the people who set up and support the conditions which make it so that any one person will feel she cannot have a baby now, and needs an abortion (and chances are she's correct) and then go around insulting women for making this choice. People know this! They know this, but they fall for their lines anyway.

I don't see abortion as a moral issue at all. But if I did, and wanted to stop it, I'd go to the source. These same people who don't want you to have an abortion, you know they don't like you anyway. They're not going to help you when you need help, they won't help you keep your family together.

Incidentally, a special note about that OTHER guy, the one who made that comment about disabled babies being a punishment for abortion....


Actually, I have nothing to say to him. But I'm tempted now to start a poll asking which comment was really more offensive.
conuly: (Default)
Now, prior to seeing this movie, I'd read a bit about it, and truthfully, what I read wasn't all that complimentary. Even the language (or, at least, the process of making it) didn't really escape this scrutiny. (And on the subject of language, I'm impressed that they went through all the effort of conlanging up a whole language and making the actors learn it, but meanwhile, why did the Na'vi consistently pronounced "Sully" as "Sooly"? That's a mispronunciation I'd expect from somebody who had seen the word written, but not somebody whose first (and possibly only) association with the word was hearing it spoken. Those two phonemes aren't that similar, are they?)

Well, apparently the guy I went to see it with had not read all I'd read beforehand, and neither was he clued into the fact that "long braid down the back +/- sparse beads and/or asymmetrical feathers = INJUNS! Native Americans! So I was there the second he figured it out. "Wait - they're supposed to be Indians! That's not... that's not right!"

(If those braids had been a little more cornrow-y, they would clearly have been Africans, and if we'd heard a little more of that random didgeridoo that was in one of the background music bits I could've called them Australians... but (gratuitous, non-alien Western musical scales aside) I can't blame them for that one, the didgeridoo is a pretty awesome instrument.)

So, now, what did I think of the movie? Well, I took a day or so to think about it. And then I thought, before I posted, I'd head over to TVTropes and see what they have to say. (And that sucked up my entire day, yes, yes, when will I learn?) And boy, do they have a lot to say on the subject! Holy FUCK!

So I'm gonna take some parts and talk about them, but I'm not tackling the whole thing. That *is* what TVTropes is there for.

Read more... )

So, basically? It's a so-so movie with great imagery. It has some troublesome aspects (seriously), but they're mostly troublesome in the context of... well, everything else that shares those aspects. This wouldn't be so bad if the story itself weren't largely formulaic. But it is.

So I saw it once, liked it well enough once I turned my brain off, and don't intend to see it again any time soon. If you aren't spending your life on TVTropes you might like it more.
conuly: (Default)
But first - an update on my Bonne-maman.

Well, actually, I don't have one. Every time I call my mother, I get grumbles and incoherent muttering, but no details of what's going on. I surmise from this that there's no crisis *right now*, but that nothing's actually better, either.


I have an article on dolls that represent disabled children. Edit: Found error (finally) and fixed.

Here's a good example of somebody Missing the Point, in a really stunning way, too:

"In early research into race stereotypes, in which black children were asked to choose from three dolls - one black, one brown and one white - and say which doll they would be most like, almost all chose the white doll,” Smith says. “This research is old and things may be different now, but it suggests that children want to identify with themselves as a positive, generally accepted image, ie, non-disabled, except in a short-term disability.”

I don't even know how I could possibly respond to that.

Meanwhile, apparently there is drama afoot in [ profile] ohnotheydidnt on a related topic.

Drama, in a drama comm. My worldview is now officially shattered.
conuly: (Default)
Beijing guide labels disabled 'unsocial' (From [ profile] bookgirlwa) Unfortunately, I've used up most of my outrage already, so all I feel right now is a kind of irritated not-quite-apathy. But it really is very offensive.

How Green Is the College? Time the Showers

And a little bit of lighter material )
conuly: (Default)
An entry with a link to the article, and commentary from organizations which help people with Down Syndrome.

Another post (same person) on selective abortion and choice and whatnot.

The article itself.

"In my opinion, the moral thing for older mothers to do is to have amniocentesis, as soon during pregnancy as is safe for the fetus, test whether placental cells have a third chromosome #21, and abort the fetus if it does," he said, according to a Raleigh news and Observer report.

Harris has taught at the college for 35 years and he told the newspaper he's made the pro-abortion statement several times before in an attempt to spark discussion.

He told the newspaper he has no apologies for the remark.

"I know somebody who had a child like this, and it ruined their life," he said.

Well, gee. He knows a single family "like this", and he can generalize? I know a single person with Down Syndrome, and judging from her conversation and what she's said about her family, I don't think that she's managed to totally "ruin their lives".

Which is not to say that you shouldn't get an abortion if that's your wont - if you want to get an abortion over something absurd, like the possibility that your child might have the wrong eye color, I'll keep my mouth shut about it unless you ask - but it's equally wrong to say the only moral choice is to abort, or to say that the only possibility is that such a child will "ruin your life".
conuly: (Default)
I remember having an argument with somebody about building houses accessible. I said that it only cost a few thousand dollars to build a new house with wide enough doors and a porch you can ramp for people in wheelchairs. It'd be hard to make something accessible to *everybody* at once (since two people may have complete opposite needs), but you can make the most obvious changes, right?

And he goes "Who'll pay for it?", like that's a big concern. I just didn't get it. I mean, once you're already spending a few hundred thousand for your new house, surely adding another ten thousand on to make it accessible doesn't break the bank, right? And it's got to be cheaper than renovating after the fact if something should happen.
conuly: (Default)
One, by Amy Harmon, on parents of children with exceedingly rare genetic disorders finding each other
It comes with an MP3 of the backstory of the article
And a video

Read more... )

A Display of Disapproval That Turned Menacing

Read more... )

I'm of two minds about that second article. On the one hand, harassing others is wrong, end of story. No, it doesn't matter why. On the other hand, though, if you choose to move yourself to a very religious community, where everybody is very concerned about religious rules, you can't be too surprised when the local twits take their opinions too far. It's not like you didn't know their very strict view of things before you moved there.

Edit: Similarly, if I moved to the Bible Belt, and everybody prayed every graduation and school meeting - yes, it's wrong, and yes, I'm right to oppose it, but I would expect to make myself real unpopular real fast, and to then find that I had a hard time getting a record to take to the authorities. It's still wrong, but this sort of thing is why I'd think twice before moving into a new place.
conuly: (Default)
The best line, of course, comes at the end.

"I think it's really important that people combine their knowledge and look at what's been done before," she said.

Everard, who suffers from spinal muscular atrophy, was 21 months old when her father designed a powered chair for her, spawning a company that has provided mobility for children as young as 11 months old.

"I find it tiring that I'm still being told it's cutting edge, and I'm 28," she said.

Man, I'm starting to get that feeling sometimes, when I see articles and articles that do nothing but rehash things that the whole world knew years ago, and I don't even know that much about my favorite subjects, just enough.
conuly: (Default)
Also on disabled teens and sex. Note: I believe that "learning disabled" in the article doesn't mean "dyslexic (or similar)" in Britain, right?
conuly: (Default)
I'm sure many of you knew. I kinda didn't.

So, uh... Protest Pity, anybody?
conuly: (Default)
An article about a disability columnist.

A page on what would happen if we all just disappeared. Highlights include two days later (subways in NYC totally flooded) and one year later (lice go extinct - bedbugs, as we all know, keep on trucking for another six months. Maybe longer - some people hypothesize that during their "disappearance" they'd really just switched to another host. I wouldn't put it past them).

And, today's personal favorite - "Clowns Kick KKK Ass!" WHITE FLOUR! WHITE FLOUR! (Actually, I prefer wheat, but the sentiment is still there.) WHITE FLOUR!!!!!
conuly: (Default)
Jenn saw the link, and asked if I knew what sort technology that was, how it worked. Honestly, I didn't. But later, scrolling through the person's journal, I came across a link they had posted, to this FAQ. I assume that this is at least roughly how Schuyler's talkboard works.

And, let me tell you, this is fascinating. Learn something new every day, and sometimes what you're learning is way cool.
conuly: (Default)
and I had to forget, right? Gah!

It's all on adaptive-thingies (I hesitate to say technology, because that's not all of it), and the stigma of them and whatnot.

(And if I have to come up with another synonym for thing, I'll scream. I should just buy a thesaurus. We've got four or five of them, but they're all in the basement.)
conuly: (Default)
Last time I saw her, she mentioned a boy in her class who doesn't talk. Or maybe he just doesn't speak English, we never settled that discussion.

But then it occured to her to ask "People who don't talk, how do they communicate?" Well, I was there, so I interrupted her mom's "That's a good question" (well, we started talking at the same time) to give a rundown of the various methods I know of - you can type or write (writing was her suggestion, so she got the idea), you can have a PECS or a... a... the word escapes me now, but that picture board thing? You know what I mean, anyway, or you can sign. And then I explained how there might be other methods, but I don't happen to know them.

So, in the past six or seven months, she's chattered on about how blind people cook, get around, and generally function, how deaf people talk to each other, and now how people who can't speak talk to anybody. And these are ongoing topics, they come up again and again.

It can be overwhelming, because I want to be honest, yeah, and give complete information, but not only do I not know everything about any particular subject (and I'm not with her enough to tell her we can look it up together), but also, y'know, she's still just five. I need to not go over her head or talk so long she gets bored.

But really, what a subject for her to glom onto! Most five year olds, they're interested in, what, princesses (well, she is too, but not the practical aspects of that... I wonder if she knows there are such things, really?) or dinosaurs or the entire transit system of the city, right? I never knew disability and adaptive stuffs was a potential interest, at least to a kid who didn't know any obviously disabled people (that I know of - I'm sure Michele would've said "Well, your Aunt so-and-so" if that applied, right?)

It's a good subject, it's just surprising, is all.
conuly: (Default)
Here's a quick summation, better than typing my own thoughts.

I think that one of the reasons people tend to abort disabled fetuses is that they don't know anything about how the kid could grow up, so they jump to terror scenarios.

No, I know that.

I don't, of course, know anything about what it's like to live with Downs Syndrome.

I do know, from paying attention, something about false expectations. There's a woman at the SICM who has Downs Syndrome. I pay attention - I see that she runs at least one program without extra supervision, I see that she goes to and from work by herself (she takes our bus) - my conclusion is that I should assume she can do something, until she says otherwise.

Other people, I don't know what they see. Read more... )

This anecdote proves nothing, I know. But it's another one of those stories that's been swinging in my mind lately, and it very loosely ties in to current events, so here it is.
conuly: (Default)
First we get the disabled girl who was sterilized and given hormones so she'd stay small (so she'd be easier to care for, an admirable goal, no matter how dubious the decision - and this is pretty damn dubious), naturally without her consent....

And just when you're getting over the WTF-ness of that....

Doctors: let us kill disabled babies (actual title!)

I haven't even gotten past the title yet. Taken a gander at the "related articles" section, with such gems as "Haunted mother who backs mercy killing" and "It's your right to die if you want to". Mind, I tend to agree with the second, disabled or not (though adding in proper help first, because it is a shame to up and kill yourself without a better reason than most seem to have), but it hardly applies to babies. I mean, let's say that word again - b a b y.

It's like we never left the dark ages. At least they were more honest about it, just stuck their unwanted children outside.
conuly: (Default)

Quick answer for those just joining us: It ain't autism, and it sure as hell ain't cerebral palsy.

Edit: And it's not MS either.


May. 30th, 2006 10:45 pm
conuly: (Default)
Taken from a link in [ profile] no_pity

. None of the disabled kids that I worked with when I was an advocate wanted to be disabled, especially the high functioning ones who could articulate what was going on and often said things like "I wish the autism/CP/Downs could go away." It broke my heart every damn time.

Y'know, it would break my heart too. It really would.

It also breaks my heart when I hear about little girls saying they wish they weren't so fat, and about little black kids wishing their hair were straighter or their skin lighter, or even about children saying they wished they didn't have freckles, or that their eyes were blue instead of brown. It breaks my heart when I hear about people trying desperately to not be gay anymore.

Because these are children, and adults too, who are being taught to hate a part of themselves. It's hard, it is, but the only solution that works - and works well, for people outside the affected group - is to educate others, and to make the world accessible to different people.

Setting up hypothetical discussions wherein people are encouraged to express their darkest fears about differences... I don't find that particularly helpful. Maybe it's just me.

Don't forget the apparently uneducable girl here, who thinks that all disabled people (or most, anyway) are confined to hospitals, unfulfilled, and nothing but a burden on others.


conuly: (Default)

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