Autistic Culture for Beginners

Introduction:

In order to work with and fully appreciate autistic people it is necessary to understand and accept autistic people’s culture and rights. A thorough understanding of disability generally, is also necessary to achieve this.

Forget everything you have learned from mainstream media and any non-disabled people in your life. Disability is not what you think it is. Autistic people are not who you think we are. If you read the following articles* with trust for the words of disabled people and willingness to challenge your prior understanding, you will benefit greatly (as will we).

You can expect to feel discomfort as you recognise the harm you may have caused in the past. We have all made ableist mistakes due to being exposed to beliefs/ values/ norms that have originated from an ableist society. We can only be better people if we accept and prevent repetition of our mistakes.

*This document contains mostly articles that I have read and shared over the past two years on social media plus some that I searched for directly, to give a more complete understanding. I’m sure I have missed some areas of learning and skimped on others so please feel free to share articles that you think should be included in this document and/or provide feedback (only if you are #ActuallyAutistic yourself).

Contents Table:

You will not be able to access the articles from the contents section so please scroll below it for article description and links.

Essentials: 

Social Model of Disability

What is Ableism and Abled Privilege?

Autistic Hoya’s Brief Abled Privilege Checklist. By Lydia X. Z. Brown

Microaggressions: Power, Privilege and Everyday Life

How to Fight Ableism as a Nondisabled Person

Autistic Culture and Lived Experience

Autistic Culture: A Primer. By Erin Human

Understanding the Spectrum. By Rebecca Burgess

Neurodiversity: Some Basic Terms and Definitions. By Nick Walker

Identity Politics and Persuasion. By Rachel McNamara

What these 7 Brilliant Activists Love most about being Autistic. By Katie Dupere

15 Things You Should Never Say to an Autistic. By Lydia X. Z. Brown

How Autism Warrior Parents Harm Autistic Kids. Shannon Des Roches Rosa

Is it Really Inclusion you want? By Michelle Sutton

Blue Lights Won’t Help Me. By Michelle Sutton

Autistic Burnout/ Regression/ Inertia – It’s not just me. By Jax Blunt

Ableist Language

Introduction to Disability Terminology. By Corinne Duyvis and Kayla Whaley

Violence in Language: Circling Back to Linguistic Ableism. By Lydia X. Z. Brown

Disease is Not a Metaphor. By Cyree Jarelle Johnson

It’s Time to Retire “Able-Bodied”. By Lauren Smith – Donohoe

Against “mental age” The Small Places. By Lucy Series

We’re Not Here for Your Inspiration. By Stella Young

Emotions

Why can’t we all get along?!? By Leah Kelley

No, We Won’t Calm Down – Tone Policing is Just Another Way to Protect Privilege. By Robot Hugs

“Caregiver burnout”. By Beth Ryan

Intersectionality

Revisiting #DisabilityTooWhite One Year Later (Hint: There’s Still A Problem). By Denarii Monroe

Autistic While Black: The Erasure of Blacks from Histories of Autism. Mrs Kerima Cevik

Why Intersectionality Can’t Wait. By Kimberle Crenshaw

How Can We All Do Better At Intersectionality. By Jax Jacki Brown

Other (still very useful):

Claiming superiority via intelligence/ internalised ableism

4 Ways That ‘ Our Minds Are Fine’ Is Ableist Toward Cognitively Disabled Folks. By Cara Liebowitz

Fighting My Internalization of the Hierarchy of Disability. By Kim Sauder

Representation

When Parents Overshare their Children’s Disability. By Carly Findlay

The Protest and Power of Disability Activism: ‘It’s not as sexy as gay rights or climate change’. By Luke Buckmaster

Disability and Hollywood, a Sordid Affair. By Maysoon Zayid

Hollywood’s Disfigured Villain Trope Does Major Harm to Disabled People. By Alaina Leary

I Fear for My Fellow Autistic People: On Media Misrepresentation. By Kit Mead

Violence and Mental Illness: Is media overplaying link? By Ashley Welch

Dolls with Disabilities Escape the Toy Hospital, Go Mainstream. By Neda Ulaby

Julia the Autistic Muppet finally joins her friends on TV: A quick run-down of what I loved about Julia, and what has me concerned. By Briannon Lee

On ‘Labels’

Labels aren’t Just for Jars: Give Kids the Words to Understand their Lives. By Kim Sauder

Accessibility and Accommodations

This is what accessibility looks like (Part 2). By Katie Rose Pryal

Facilitated Communication

Facilitated Communication; from the inside. By Marlena Katena

Tim. By Tim Chan

No, I’m Not a Horse: A Refutation of the Clever Hans Comparison to Autistic Typers. By Ido Kedar

Therapy/ Charity

What’s the Problem with Whole Body Listening? By PACLA (Parenting Autistic Children with Love and Acceptance)

Taking a Deeper Look at Whole Body Listening: It’s a Tool Not a Rule. By Elizabeth Sautter

‘Real Science’ and ABA. By Ally Grace

I Abused Children for a Living. By Birdmad Girl

Autism and Trauma: My Story. By Chloe Rothschild

“Charity” That Harms. By We Always Liked Picasso Anyway

When Awareness is Not Enough. By Vilissa Thompson

Policy and Disabled People

Election policy platform “Building a Disability Inclusive Australia”. By Australian Cross Disability Alliance

Disability advocates add to calls to suspend Centrelink debt recovery system. By Christopher Knaus

Prisoners are excluded from the NDIS – here’s why it matters. By Jesse Young and Stuart Kinner

Australia has kept disabled migrant children out for decades – it’s time we gave them protection instead. By Ruth Balint

Education

“Should I send my child to a special school?” Our path to inclusion. By Catia Malaquis

Pauline Hanson is wrong – we need to include children with disability in regular classrooms. By Linda J. Graham and Kate de Bruin

Our education is not a “lesson” for your non-autistic child. By Julia Pillai

Victorian schools not inclusive for students with disabilities: report. By Josh Gordon

Report sparks concern about how schools support students with disabilities. By Peter Walker

‘It is a lonely experience’: the students barred from camps and excursions. By Henrietta Cook and Timna Jacks

Disability advocate calls for end of segregated classes for disabled students in ACT schools. By Andrew Brown

Employment

Man who applied for 400 jobs finally gets interviews after hiding his disability. By Ashitha Nagesh

Underpaid disabled workers to claim compensation from Government after Federal Court win. By Joanna Crothers

Disabled MP forced to miss Commons debates because he has nowhere to sit.

By John Pring

How China trumps Australia when it comes to supporting disabled workers. By

Karen Fisher

Health care

Getting it right: What people with disabilities want from their health care. By Carly Findlay

The needless deaths of people with intellectual disability must be urgently addressed. By Professor John McMillan and Steve Kinmond

Fine, Let’s Talk About The Autism Life Expectancy Study. By FeministAspie

Abuse, violence, eugenics, euthanasia and murder

Four Corners: Can the NDIS prevent abuse of people with disability? By Carmel Laragy

Abuse of people with disability requires Royal Commission, support services argue. By Alison Branley

It’s time to fix the power dynamics that allowed the abuse of people with disability. By Leanne Dowse

Violence, Disability, and the Lessons of Sagamihara. By David Perry

The murder of disabled children can never by justified. By Carly Findlay

Shervices. By Un-Boxed Brain

I’m pro-choice, but abortion can’t be the only ‘sensible’ option when it comes

to disability. By Naomi Chainey

Better off dead? What Peter Singer doesn’t get about disability and euthanasia. By Craig Wallace

Disability – a fate worse than death? By Stella Young

Reading starts here:

Social Model of Disability

http://www.autismacceptancemonth.com/resources/101-3/ways-of-thinking-about-disability/social-model/
It is essential to have an understanding of the Social Model of Disability, in order to truly understand the rights of disabled people. Please click on the above link to for a definition and links to further resources.
“The social model of disability is now the internationally recognised way to view and address ‘disability’. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) marks the official paradigm shift in attitudes towards people with disability and approaches to disability concerns”(from http://www.pwd.org.au/student-section/the-social-model-of-disability.html )

What is Ableism and Abled Privilege?

Autistic Hoya’s Brief Abled Privilege Checklist. By Lydia X. Z. Brown
TW: Ableist murder, suicide, everyday ableism
https://autistichoya.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/brief-abled-privilege-checklist-mar-2016.pdf
Lydia X. Z. Brown is a writer, dreamer, activist/organizer, and speaker/educator. Some of the many marginal identities/experiences they are include autistic and multiply otherwise neurodivergent and disabled, queer, asexual-spectrum, genderqueer/non-binary and sometimes read as feminine, and transracially and transnationally adopted east asian person of color from China (into a white adoptive family).
Lydia does a lot of varied work in grassroots organizing, public policy advocacy, and writing focused on disability justice, intersectionality, and activism. Right now, they are the chairperson of the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council while completing law school. Lydia is an editor of ‘All The Weight Of Our Dreams: On living racialized autism’ the first-ever anthology by autistics of color.

I highly recommend this excellent concise explanation of ableism and abled privilege.

Microaggressions: Power, Privilege and Everyday life
http://www.microaggressions.com/about
The ‘About’ page of this online project provides a brief description and history of the term ‘microaggression’. On other pages of the website it lists people’s experiences of everyday microaggressions and their impact.

How to Fight Ableism as a Nondisabled Person
TW: examples of ableism
http://www.wikihow.com/Fight-Ableism-as-a-Nondisabled-Person
This article might be a difficult read because it contains lots of advertisements (some advertisements flash/ move) but does give a good general insight into how non-disabled can help challenge ableism.

Autistic Culture and Lived Experience

Autistic Culture: A Primer. By Erin Human
TW: Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA therapy)
Autistic Culture: A Primer
Erin’s real name is Erin Human. Erin is Autistic, an Art Director for Autism Women’s Network and a founding co-Director of Autistic Families International.

Erin’s article covers the following areas briefly: Identity First language, Neurodiversity, Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapies and Functioning labels.
There is also a link to an ‘Autistic Resources’ page that contains useful websites and blogs.

Understanding the Spectrum. By Rebecca Burgess
http://the-art-of-autism.com/understanding-the-spectrum-a-comic-strip-explanation/
Rebecca Burgess is a freelance comic artist and illustrator living in the UK.

This comic strip is an excellent explanation of the autism spectrum correcting common misconceptions.

Neurodiversity: Some basic terms and definitions. By Nick Walker
http://neurocosmopolitanism.com/neurodiversity-some-basic-terms-definitions/
Nick Walker is an Autistic author, educator, speaker, transdisciplinary scholar, and aikido teacher.

Learn the basics of neurodiversity from this blog post. Further information can be obtained from other posts by Nick Walker on this blog site.

Identity Politics and Persuasion. By Rachel McNamara
TW: Differing perspectives on ‘identity politics’
https://endautismstigma.wordpress.com/2017/05/25/identity-politics-and-persuasion/
Rachel McNamara is an Autistic blogger and Board Director of Amaze.

This blog post documents a presentation that explains what identity politics is, why it exists and how shared and collective identities can be persuasive in encouraging support for a social movement.

What These 7 Brilliant Activists Love Most About Being Autistic. By Katie Dupere
http://mashable.com/2017/04/23/autistic-activists-pride/#pHYH8kIxCqqy
Katie Dupere is a writer based in New York City. She is a social good reporter at Mashable covering social impact, activism and identities.
This article contains flashing/ moving advertisements, which may make it harder to read.

A highly recommended read by some of the world’s most well-known Autistic activists.

15 Things You Should Never Say To An Autistic. By Lydia X. Z. Brown
http://www.autistichoya.com/2012/02/15-things-you-should-never-say-to.html
Lydia X. Z. Brown is a writer, dreamer, activist/organizer, and speaker/educator. Some of the many marginal identities/experiences they are include autistic and multiply otherwise neurodivergent and disabled, queer, asexual-spectrum, genderqueer/non-binary and sometimes read as feminine, and transracially and transnationally adopted east asian person of color from China (into a white adoptive family).

If you want to avoid committing unintentional microaggressions against Autistic people when you are talking them, this will help.

How Autism Warrior Parents Harm Autistic Kids. By Shannon Des Roches Rosa
TW:
This article includes discussion of many ableist topics such as rhetoric of burden and cure, dangerous and abusive therapies and justifying filicide of autistic children.
https://theestablishment.co/how-autism-warrior-parents-harm-autistic-kids-6700b8bf6677
Shannon Des Roches Rosa is a writer, editor and mother of an autistic adult.  

Is It Really Inclusion You Want? By Michelle Sutton Writes
Is it really inclusion you want?
Michelle is an Australian writer, speaker, and neurodiversity rights advocate, with a background in education and psychology. Michelle is also Autistic.

Michelle’s blog post covers a personal example of how “non-autistic people really don’t understand the effort we put in to be in their spaces and involved in their activities” and encourages non-autistic people to ask autistic people what they need” for inclusion/ access.

Blue Lights Won’t Help Me. By Michelle Sutton Writes
TW: ableism in awareness-raising as it relates to autism awareness month
blue lights won’t help me
Michelle is an Australian writer, speaker, and neurodiversity rights advocate, with a background in education and psychology. Michelle is also Autistic.

This blog post explains the generalised frustration (and other emotions) that Autistic people feel when ‘Autism Awareness Month’ happens each year, when we see people promoting awareness that is not helpful and why.

Autistic Burnout/ Regression/ Inertia – It’s Not Just Me. By Jax Blunt
http://liveotherwise.co.uk/makingitup/2017/04/27/autistic-burnout-regression-inertia-its-not-just-me/
Jax Blunt is an Autistic blogger.

This blog post also contains links to further information on the topics of Autistic Burnout, Regression and Inertia.

Ableist Language

How we talk about disability, including the choice of words, reflects and influences society’s ideas about disabled people, which in turn, influences our actions towards disabled people. Disabled people are routinely devalued by language, which results in more obvious discrimination and abuse.

Introduction to Disability Terminology. By Corinne Duyvis and Kayla Whaley
TW: “uncensored use of many different kinds of ableist language and slurs, as well as example sentences they might be used in” (inclusive of swearing)
http://disabilityinkidlit.com/2016/07/08/introduction-to-disability-terminology/
Corinne Duyvis is a writer of sci-fi and fantasy. ‘Otherbound’, her YA fantasy debut, received four starred reviews. ‘On the Edge of Gone’, her second YA, is about an autistic girl during the apocalypse and received three starred reviews. Her most recent novel is ‘Guardians of the Galaxy: Collect Them All’, an original novel set in the Marvel Universe.
Kayla Whaley is Senior Editor at Disability in Kidlit and a graduate of the Clarion Writers’ Workshop. Her work has appeared at The Toast, The Establishment, Uncanny Magazine, and in the upcoming anthology Feminism for the Real World.

This article is not autism-specific but the terminology is often applicable to Autistic people. It is also targeted to writers but is an excellent resource for everyone. It covers: Identity First language, Abled vs. non-disabled, disabled people as nouns, special needs and other euphemisms, wheelchair-bound and other judgemental terms, functioning labels, adapting language use, ableist language (contains some swear words), disability as metaphor, purposeful use of ableist terminology, internalized ableism and intentional ableism.

Violence in Language: Circling Back to Linguistic Ableism. By Lydia X. Z. Brown
TW: use of many different kinds of ableist language and slurs, as well as example sentences they might be used in
http://www.autistichoya.com/2014/02/violence-linguistic-ableism.html

This document is an excellent comprehensive explanation and list of ableist language and alternatives. It does contain swearing but with a warning before the words are listed as examples of less-articulate and therefore inclusive (not everyone has an excellent command of language) alternatives to ableist slurs.

Disease is Not A Metaphor. By Cyree Jarelle Johnson
TW: Ableist metaphors
Cyrée Jarelle Johnson is a Black Femme dyke writer, zinester, and poet. Cyrée Jarelle is committed to relocating Femme culture from margin to center using writing, non-formal education and communal publication. Ze remains a crippled Jersey Grrl abroad; in hir swollen feet ze is a wanderer, but hir heart is in the foodcourt at the Woodbridge Mall.

This is an excellent poetic piece of writing on the ableist use of disability as a metaphor.

It’s Time to Retire “Able-Bodied”. By Lauren Smith- Donohoe
It’s Time to Retire “Able-Bodied”
Lauren Smith-Donohoe is a disabled blogger.

This blog post provides a very good explanation of why we should use the term ‘abled’ instead of ‘able-bodied’ to describe non-disabled people.

Against “mental age” The Small Places. By Lucy Series
https://thesmallplaces.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/against-mental-age/
Lucy Series is a researcher at the Centre for Health and Social Care Law at Cardiff Law School. Lucy’s research interests include legal capacity and human rights, especially in health and social care services. She is currently working on a project about the Court of Protection.

An excellent in-depth article from an academic and social perspective. It discusses how using the term ‘mental age’ encourages ableist infantilizing of disabled people and its’ likely impact on rights including justice.

We’re not here for your inspiration. By Stella Young
http://www.abc.net.au/rampup/articles/2012/07/02/3537035.htm
Stella Young (24 February 1982 – 6 December 2014) was an Australian comedian, journalist and disability rights activist.

The original essay on inspiration porn. It has global recognition. A must read.

Emotions

Why can’t we all get along?!? By Leah Kelley
Why can’t we all get along?!?
Leah Kelley is a K–12 Special Education Resource Teacher, a parent of an Autistic son, and an experienced primary teacher.

On misrepresenting ableism as advocacy. Although, this article centres on ongoing controversy with ‘The Mighty’, it provides a very good personal account of how non-autistic people expect their feelings and opinions to be equally as important (or more so) as the rights (and experience) of autistic people.

No, We Won’t Calm Down – Tone Policing is Just Another Way to Protect Privilege. By Robot Hugs
http://everydayfeminism.com/2015/12/tone-policing-and-privilege/
An excellent comic strip on why you should not criticize emotional reactions to oppressive systems and the people who unknowingly or knowingly support them, by marginalized people.
This article contains flashing/ moving advertisements, which may make it harder to read. This article also contains swearing in the context of emotional reactions to oppression.

“Caregiver burnout” By Beth Ryan
TW: This article mentions several ableist things parents of autistic children often think, say and do
“caregiver burnout”

This excellent blog post highlights the ableism implicit in the term ‘caregiver burnout’ by explaining how it is important that the person who is cared for is not seen as the cause for burnout. It provides an excellent list of coping strategies.

Intersectionality

Revisiting #DisabilityTooWhite One Year Later (Hint: There’s Still A Problem). By Denarii Monroe
TW: Racism and ableism, mention of police violence and brutality
https://theestablishment.co/revisiting-disabilitytoowhite-one-year-later-hint-theres-still-a-problem-229aadcf1852
Vilisa Thompson is disabled woman of color, womanist, creator and founder of Ramp Your Voice, disability rights consultant and advocate, macro licensed master social worker and writer.

A very good interview with Vilissa Thompson discussing the poor representation of people of colour in the disability community.

Autistic While Black: The Erasure of Blacks From Histories of Autism
TW: Slavery, racist exclusion, ableist and racist assumptions of lack of competence and talent
http://intersecteddisability.blogspot.com.au/2016/01/autistic-while-black-erasure-of-blacks.html
Mrs Kerima Cevik is a disabled blogger, activist, editor, writer and researcher.

Why Intersectionality Can’t Wait. By Kimberle Crenshaw
TW: intersectional racism and sexism in the workplace, brief mention of other examples of intersecting identities and their activism
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/in-theory/wp/2015/09/24/why-intersectionality-cant-wait/
Read this for the meaning and history of intersectionality as a word (the lived experience of it has always existed).
Kimberle Crenshaw is an American civil rights advocate and a leading scholar of the field known as critical race theory. She is a full professor at the UCLA School of Law and Columbia Law School, where she specializes in race and gender issues. She is known for the introduction and development of intersectional theory, the study of how overlapping or intersecting social identities, particularly minority identities, relate to systems and structures of oppression, domination, or discrimination (copied directly from Wikipedia)

How Can We All Do Better By Our Autistic Girls? By Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism
TW: sexism and ableism intersected, misdiagnosis and rape
http://www.thinkingautismguide.com/2016/04/how-can-we-all-do-better-by-our.html
Emily Paige Ballou is an autistic theater professional and writer based in New York. She was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome as a young adult.
Olley Edwards is an autistic British writer and filmmaker, and parent to a neurodivergent family of three girls. She was (finally) formally diagnosed with autism herself only recently.
Patricia George is an autistic Canadian writer, photographer, and artist. She was diagnosed with autism in her early 40s after a lifetime of being misdiagnosed with other conditions.
Christine Langager is a writer, homeschooler, volunteer with an autism service dog organization, and a retired athlete. She is also an adult-diagnosed autistic parent to two autistic boys, and spouse to a U.S. Marine. She lives in Southern California.
Siobhan Travers (Nez Perce) is an autistic writer, advocate, teacher, parent to an autistic daughter, and was diagnosed with autism herself as a child. She splits her time between Lapwai, Idaho and Northern California. Though considered “minimally verbal,” she speaks five languages.

“Five women talk about about the under-recognition of autistic girls, the long- and short-term effects of going without supports and accommodations, and what autistic girls and actually need to succeed and be happy.”

Real Talk: We Need to Get Better At Intersectionality. By Jax Jacki Brown
TW: A personal account of ableism, sexism and homophobia
Jax Jacki Brown is a disability and LGBTIQ rights activist, writer, public speaker and disability sexuality educator.
https://www.vwt.org.au/real-talk-need-get-better-intersectionality/

A personal account of the need for recognition of disability existing within multiple layers of identity.

Claiming superiority via intelligence/ internalised ableism

4 Ways That ‘Our Minds Are Fine’ Is Ableist Toward Cognitively Disabled Folks. By Cara Liebowitz
http://everydayfeminism.com/2016/02/ableism-cognitive-disabilities/
Cara Liebowitz is a multiply-disabled activist, blogger and writer currently pursuing her M.A in Disability Studies.

Excellent detailed article explaining the impact of ableism from people with physical disabilities against those with cognitive disabilities. Contains swearing.

Fighting my internalization of the hierarchy of disability. By Kim Sauder
Fighting My Internalization of the Hierarchy of Disability
Kim Sauder is an Autistic blogger with left side hemiplegic cerebral palsy. They have a MA in Disability Studies and a BA (Hons.) in Women & Gender Studies and they have a PhD student in Critical Disability Studies.

An excellent personal example of internalised ableism.

Representation

When parents overshare their children’s disability. By Carly Findlay
TW: Accounts of ableism by parents including burden rhetoric and privacy violations
http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/news-and-views/opinion/when-parents-overshare-their-childrens-disability-20150724-gijtw6.html
Carly Findlay is an Australian blogger, writer, speaker and appearance activist.

There are multiple concerns when parents’ overshare their children’s disability. Carly Findlay discusses this topic from a disabled person’s perspective.

The protest and power of disability activism: ‘It’s not as sexy as gay rights or climate change’. By Luke Buckmaster
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/jul/17/the-protest-and-power-of-disability-activism-its-not-as-sexy-as-gay-rights-or-climate-change

This article promotes, Defiant Lives, a new Australian documentary, which “traces the history of disability rights at home and abroad, with the aim of challenging the movement’s erasure”. Several disabled people discuss representation of disabled people with relation to this documentary compared to mainstream ableist representation. It also includes valid criticism inclusive of the lack of intersectionality with regard to people of colour and an attempt to invalidate that criticism by the director of the documentary. The article primarily features Dr George Taleporos. It contains one swear word (an emotional reaction to an ableist celebrity).

Dr George Taleporos is a disability rights advocate with expertise in human rights, equity and disability service reform. He uses a motorised wheelchair and a ventilator. He has a PhD in psychology and an honours degree in sociology. He is the manager of the Youth Disability Advocacy Service and a sessional lecturer at Deakin University.

Disability and Hollywood, a Sordid Affair. By Maysoon Zayid
TW: Ableist story themes for disabled people and abled people ‘cripping up’ as disabled characters
http://www.womensmediacenter.com/feature/entry/disability-and-hollywood-a-sordid-affair
Maysoon Zayid is a comedian, tap dancer, and disability advocate. She is the co-producer of the New York Arab American Comedy Festival and the Muslim Funny Fest. Maysoon had the most viewed TED Talk of 2014. She is the host of the web series Advice You Don’t Want to Hear and is currently developing a comedy series based on her life titled “If I Cancan.”

Excellent article about how Hollywood misrepresents and excludes us.

Hollywood’s Disfigured Villain Trope Does Major Harm to Disabled People. By Alaina Leary
TW: Ableist character stereotypes for visibly disabled people and abled people ‘cripping up’ as disabled characters
http://www.teenvogue.com/story/disfigured-villains-dr-poison-wonder-woman
Alaina Leary is a book and magazine editor, a publicist, and a social media assistant for We Need Diverse Books.

What message is Hollywood promoting when disabled characters (particularly those with facial differences) are cast as villains?! This article exposes a harmful stereotype.

I fear for My Fellow Autistic People: On Media Misrepresentation. By Kit Mead
TW: Murder and murder ideation of disabled people, media representation of autistic people as violent and/or burdens and privacy violations of disabled people
https://kpagination.wordpress.com/2016/07/10/i-fear-for-my-fellow-autistic-people-on-media-misrepresentation/
Kit Mead is an Autistic, queer, non-binary trans person with mental health disabilities and (probably) Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS). Kit is also a disability rights advocate.

This article focuses on the media misrepresenting autistic people as violent.

Violence and mental illness: Is media overplaying link? By Ashley Welch
TW: Mass shootings, violence, ableist media reports
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/too-many-news-stories-wrongly-link-violence-with-mental-illness/
The answer to the question, which is posed in the title of the article, is a resounding ‘Yes’.
This article contains flashing/ moving advertisements, which may make it harder to read.

Dolls With Disabilities Escape The Toy Hospital, Go Mainstream. By Neda Ulaby
http://kcur.org/post/dolls-disabilities-escape-toy-hospital-go-mainstream#stream/0
This article is about disability representation in toys. Rebecca Cokley is featured in this article.
Rebecca Cokley is a 2nd generation little person (both of her parents have dwarfism) and is the mother of two kids, both with Achondroplasia, too. Rebecca runs the National Council on Disability an independent federal agency that advises Congress, The White House, other government agencies, and the public on all issues impacting Americans with Disabilities.

Julia the Autistic muppet finally joins her friends on TV: A quick run-down of what I loved about Julia, and what has me concerned. By Briannon Lee
Julia the autistic muppet finally joins her friends on TV
Briannon is a Queer, neurodivergent changemaker from Australia. A social worker with a biomedical science background, Briannon’s work has always been in social justice organisations with experience in non-profit management, innovation, research, community campaigns and direct support with marginalised people. She enjoys facilitation, consulting, co-creating and writing.
Briannon is Director of community groups Autistic Families International and NeuroDiversity Connect and a writer at Respectfully Connected.

An excellent analysis of how media representation can get some things right and some things wrong.

On ‘labels’

Labels aren’t Just for Jars: Give Kids the Words to Understand their Lives. By Kim Sauder
TW: Personal experience of being bullied
Labels aren’t Just for Jars: Give Kids the Words to Understand their Lives
Kim Sauder is an Autistic blogger with left side hemiplegic cerebral palsy. They have a MA in Disability Studies and a BA (Hons.) in Women & Gender Studies and they have a PhD student in Critical Disability Studies.

You might have heard that popular but unfortunate phrase “Labels are for jam jars, not kids”. This article debunks the phrase and explains why it actually creates harm for disabled people (includes kids).

Accessibility and Accommodations

This is what accessibility looks like (Part 2). By Katie Rose Pryal
https://katieroseguestpryal.com/2016/04/05/this-is-what-accessibility-looks-like-part-2/
Katie Rose Pryal is a novelist, freelance journalist, and law professor.

A brief but important comparison of accessibility and accommodations and how accessibility is the better of the two.

Facilitated Communication

Facilitated Communication; from the inside. By Marlena Katena
TW: Ableist language in the opening quote, ableist language and judgement regarding assumed competence for non-speaking disabled people
http://www.abc.net.au/rampup/articles/2012/03/15/3454386.htm
Marlena Katene is a 21-year-old small business owner, motivational speaker and journalism student. Currently she uses communication devices and facilitated communication to assist her to study journalism and build an extensive portfolio interviewing a wide range of people. A passionate disability advocate she has travelled extensively throughout the world and Australia to promote an inclusive and positive life for all people with a disability, regardless of perceived perceptions.

A personal account of the right to communicate.

Tim. By Tim Chan
TW: Ableist assumptions and denial of the means to communicate, internalized ableism, ableism related to intellectual disability by Tim Chan that is not challenged, suicidal ideation
http://ican.network/humans2017/tim/
Tim Chan documents his experiences as a non-speaking person, on the autism spectrum, who has often had his voice denied, especially at school. Tim Chan is an ambassador for ‘I CAN Network’ (Australia).

No, I’m Not a Horse: A Refutation of the Clever Hans Comparison to Autistic Typers. By Ido Kedar
http://idoinautismland.com/?p=473
Ido Kedar is an Autistic blogger and author of the book ‘Ido in Autismland’.

Ido Kedar’s blog post is an excellent response to a specific and terribly ableist critique of facilitated communication.

Therapy/ Charity

What’s the Problem with Whole Body Listening? By PACLA (Parenting Autistic Children with Love and Acceptance)
TW: Ableist assumptions, interpretations and expectations regarding body language
https://autloveaccept.wordpress.com/2015/03/25/whats-the-problem-with-whole-body-listening/
The Whole Body Listening poster is altered to celebrate autistic neurology.

Taking a Deeper Look at Whole Body Listening: It’s a Tool Not a Rule. By Elizabeth Sautter
TW: Still promotes Whole Body Listening but is much better at avoiding ableist assumptions and suggests in some cases that it can be harmful, with advice around changing the environment instead
https://www.socialthinking.com/Articles?name=Whole%20Body%20Listening
Elizabeth Sautter is the co-director/owner of Communication Works. She is a licensed and certified speech-language pathologist. She is experienced in the areas of autism, developmental disabilities, social cognitive deficits, and challenging behaviors and since 2001, has focused most of her career on social cognitive and self-regulation intervention and training.

Even the non-autistic professionals acknowledge the limitations of Whole Body Listening. This article explains some of the limitations.

‘Real Science’ and ABA. By Ally Grace
TW: ABA
http://suburbanautistics.blogspot.com.au/2015/05/real-science-and-aba.html
Ally Grace is a blogger and Autistic mother of four Autistic children

I Abused Children For a Living. By Birdmad Girl
TW: Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) explained. Discussion of the history of ABA involves discussion of torture and mention of homophobic ‘therapy’ for gay people
https://madasbirdsblog.wordpress.com/2017/04/03/i-abused-children-for-a-living/?iframe=true&theme_preview=true
Birdmad Girl is a multiply neurodivergent woman who blogs.

 

An excellent piece of writing from an ex- ABA therapist that does well to explain how ABA can harm Autistic children. Contains one swear word as an emotional reaction to an ableist goal that can result harm.

Autism and Trauma: My story. By Chloe Rothschild
TW: Personal account of being traumatised at a camp by the ableist words and actions of trained staff
https://www.autism.com/yld_rothchild_trauma
Chloe Rothschild is a young adult with autism who lives in Ohio with her family. She is a co-editor for the ARI Adults with Autism eBulletin, an advisory board member for the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI), and a young leader for the Autistic Global Initiative (AGI).

Chloe’s article is about how a therapeutic camp caused Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

“Charity” That Harms. By We Always Liked Picasso Anyway
http://autistictimestwo.blogspot.com.au/2016/02/charity-that-harms.html
This post explains how not all charities are created equal and how some charities can harm disabled people.

When Awareness is Not Enough. By Vilissa Thompson
http://cdrnys.org/blog/advocacy/when-awareness-is-not-enough/
Vilissa Thompson is disabled woman of color, womanist, creator and founder of Ramp Your Voice, disability rights consultant and advocate, macro licensed master social worker and writer.

An excellent article on why we should be focusing on and using the term, ‘acceptance’ instead of ‘awareness’ with regard to disability.

Policy and Disabled people

This section includes several recent Australian articles that show how policy can disadvantage disabled people.

Election policy platform “Building a Disability Inclusive Australia”. By Australian Cross Disability Alliance
TW: Mention of physical and sexual abuse of disabled people (adults and children), more detail regarding the cruel and inhuman treatment of people (inclusive of disabled people) seeking asylum
http://dpoa.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/ACDA-Election-Policy-Platform.pdf
The Australian Cross Disability Alliance (ACDA) is an alliance of national disabled people’s organisations (DPOs). The key purpose of ACDA is to promote, protect and advance the human rights and freedoms of people with disability in Australia by working collaboratively on areas of shared interests, purposes and strategic priorities and opportunities.

This is an excellent detailed document that describes “13 policy priorities which will help to shape and strengthen our nation through the realisation of inclusion, equality, respect and human rights for all people with disability.” It was written in advance of the 2016 Australian federal election.

Disability advocates add to calls to suspend Centrelink debt recovery system. By Christopher Knaus
TW: Suicide
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/jan/05/disability-advocates-add-to-calls-to-suspend-centrelink-debt-recovery-system

Prisoners are excluded from the NDIS – here’s why it matters. By Jesse Young and Stuart Kinner
TW: Assault, further disadvantage for indigenous disabled people.
http://theconversation.com/prisoners-are-excluded-from-the-ndis-heres-why-it-matters-73912
Jesse Young is a Research Fellow and PhD Candidate, University of Melbourne.
Stuart Kinner is a Professor, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute.

Australia has kept disabled migrant children out for decades – it’s time we gave them protection instead. By Ruth Balint
TW: Nazi concentration camps, institutionalisation of disabled children, burden rhetoric, present day offshore detention centres, physical and sexual assault
http://theconversation.com/australia-has-kept-disabled-migrant-children-out-for-decades-its-time-we-gave-them-protection-instead-73677
Ruth Balint is a senior lecturer in history, UNSW.

Education

Recent Australian articles highlighting and explaining how disabled people are disadvantaged in education.

“Should I send my child to a special school?” Our path to inclusion. By Catia Malaquis
TW: Segregation of disabled students
http://www.startingwithjulius.org.au/should-i-send-my-child-to-a-special-school-ou-path-to-inclusion/
Catia Malaquis is the founder and director of ‘Starting with Julius’. Catia has been recognised nationally and internationally for her work and has spoken at the United Nations in Geneva and at the United Nations in New York about inclusion of people with disability in advertising and media. She was an Australian Human Rights Awards Finalist in 2016 and is a Western Australian of the Year Awards Finalist in 2017.

A personal account of Catia’s path to educational inclusion for her son Julius with links to academic documents and reports.

Pauline Hanson is wrong – we need to include children with disability in regular classrooms. By Linda J. Graham and Kate de Bruin
TW: Segregation of disabled students
http://theconversation.com/pauline-hanson-is-wrong-we-need-to-include-children-with-disability-in-regular-classrooms-79897
Associate Professor Linda J. Graham receives funding from the Australian Research Council (ARC) and the Queensland Government Education Horizons scheme. She leads QUT’s Student Engagement, Learning & Behaviour (#SELB) Research Group and is a Director of All Means All – Australian Alliance for Inclusive Education.
Dr Kate de Bruin receives funding from the Commonwealth Department of Education and Training relating to the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data for Students with Disability.

This article explains how the anecdotal evidence is incorrect re. special education being the best place for disabled kids.

Our education is not a “lesson” for your non-autistic child. By Julia Pillai
TW: Restraint and segregation of disabled students
http://www.smh.com.au/comment/our-education-is-not-a-lesson-for-your-nonautistic-child-20170623-gwx44v.html
Julia Pillai is a politics and fine art student at Monash University, the assistant producer of Represent at SYN Media, and a freelance journalist. Julia is also Autistic.

This article takes a rights-based approach to Pauline Hanson’s ableist comments about disabled children being better off in special schools. The article includes some sarcasm.

Victorian schools not inclusive for students with disabilities: report. By Josh Gordon
TW: Exclusion and segregation of disabled students
http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/victorian-schools-not-inclusive-for-students-with-disabilities-report-20160417-go8d10.html

Report sparks concern about how schools support students with disabilities. By Peter Walker
TW: Exclusion, segregation and restriction (“cage- like” enclosures and physical restraint) of disabled students
http://theconversation.com/report-sparks-concern-about-how-schools-support-students-with-disabilities-78753
Peter Walker is a lecturer in Special Education, Flinders University.

Relates to South Australian schools.

‘It is a lonely experience’: the students barred from camps and excursions. By Henrietta Cook and Timna Jacks
TW: Exclusion of disabled students
http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/it-is-a-lonely-experience-the-students-barred-from-camps-and-excursions-20170529-gwfer5.html

A personal account and impact of being excluded from school activities due to disability.

Disability advocate calls for end of segregated classes for disabled students in ACT schools. By Andrew Brown
TW: Segregation of disabled students
http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/disability-advocate-calls-for-end-of-segregated-classes-for-disabled-students-in-act-schools-20170317-gv0p8c.html

Employment

Recent articles highlighting and explaining how disabled people are disadvantaged in employment.

Man who applied for 400 jobs finally gets interviews after hiding his disability. By Ashitha Nagesh
Man who applied for 400 jobs finally gets interviews after hiding his disability

UK article but could easily happen in Australia. Disability discrimination when applying for employment.

Underpaid disabled workers to claim compensation from Government after Federal Court win. By Joanna Crothers
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-12-16/class-action-settlement-intellectual-disability-workers-approved/8126860

An example of exploitation of intellectually disabled people in the workplace.

Disabled MP forced to miss Commons debates because he has nowhere to sit. By John Pring
http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/disabled-mp-forced-to-miss-commons-debates-because-he-has-nowhere-to-sit/

This is a UK article. It shows that even the most privileged disabled people face inaccessible workplaces and difficulties having timely accommodations put in place. It will be interesting to see if Jordon Steele- John has similar experiences as a wheelchair user in Australia’s federal parliament.

How China trumps Australia when it comes to supporting disabled workers. By Karen Fisher
http://www.smh.com.au/comment/how-china-trumps-australia-when-it-comes-to-supporting-disabled-workers-20170103-gtl7bh.html
Professor Karen Fisher is a disability policy researcher at the Social Policy Research Centre at UNSW.

Health care

Getting it right: What people with disabilities want from their health care. By Carly Findlay
TW: Ableism and ignorance by medical professionals impacting quality of care
http://www.abc.net.au/news/health/2016-12-20/what-people-with-disabilities-want-from-their-health-care/8127416
Carly Findlay is an Australian blogger, writer, speaker and appearance activist.

This article documents personal experiences of health care from several disabled people.

The needless deaths of people with intellectual disability must be urgently addressed. By Professor John McMillan and Steve Kinmond
TW: Discriminatory health care practise, preventable deaths of intellectually disabled people
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-09/analysisa-ombudsman-on-healthcare-for-intellectually-disabled/8255738
Professor John McMillan is the acting NSW Ombudsman. Steve Kinmond is the Deputy Ombudsman.

The impact of discrimination and non- inclusive health care for intellectually disabled people in Australia.

Fine, Let’s Talk About The Autism Life Expectancy Study. By FeministAspie
TW: premature death, suicide, abuse, autism-cure-rhetoric and other aspects of systemic ableism
https://feministaspie.wordpress.com/2016/03/20/fine-lets-talk-about-the-autism-life-expectancy-study/
FeministAspie, an anonymous student from the UK who blogs about feminism and autism

This article discusses the limitations, ableist reporting and involves some analysis of a study that received a lot of attention in 2016.

Abuse, violence, eugenics, euthanasia and murder

Four Corners: can the NDIS prevent abuse of people with disability? By Carmel Laragy
TW: Abuse (including sexual abuse) against disabled people
http://theconversation.com/four-corners-can-the-ndis-prevent-abuse-of-people-with-disability-75286
Carmel Laragy is a Senior Research Fellow, RMIT University.

The answer is ‘no’. A Royal Commission is needed.

Abuse of people with disability requires royal commission, support services argue. By Alison Branley
TW: Abuse of disabled people
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-09/royal-commission-into-abuse-of-people-with-disability/8602508

It’s time to fix the power dynamics that allowed the abuse of people with disability. By Leanne Dowse
TW: Systemic violence, abuse and neglect of disabled people (specific examples given)
http://theconversation.com/its-time-to-fix-the-power-dynamics-that-allowed-the-abuse-of-people-with-disability-51307
Leanne Dowse is an associate professor and Chair in Intellectual Disability Behaviour Support, UNSW.

Violence, Disability, and the Lessons of Sagamihara. By David Perry
TW: Ableist hate crime mass-murder of disabled people in Japan, police brutality against disabled people of colour, black people and indigenous people (Canada, America and Australia), abuse of disabled children in schools (America and Australia)
https://psmag.com/news/violence-disability-and-the-lessons-of-sagamihara
David Perry is a disability rights journalist.

“The ableist attack on a residential center for people with disabilities highlights the violence that disabled people face around the world — and how far we have to go.”

The murder of disabled children can never be justified. By Carly Findlay
TW: Family violence and murder of disabled people and children and the following ableist justification of those acts, suicide
http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/news-and-views/opinion/the-murder-of-disabled-children-can-never-be-justified-20161020-gs6xog.html
Carly Findlay is an Australian blogger, writer, speaker and appearance activist.

Shervices by Un-Boxed Brain
TW: Filicide and ableist justification of it
https://un-boxedbrain.com/2016/05/shervices/
Un-boxed Brain is a non-binary, Autistic blogger.

This article explains how it is and why ‘lack of services’ should not be used as a justification for murder.

I’m pro-choice, but abortion can’t be the only ‘sensible’ option when it comes to disability. By Naomi Chainey
TW: Abortion based on ableist beliefs about disability, involuntary sterilisation of disabled people, ableist claims of disability ruining marriages
http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/life-and-relationships/parenting/im-prochoice-but-abortion-cant-be-the-only-sensible-option-when-it-comes-to-disability-20170215-gud9ok.html
Naomi Chainey is a freelance writer, media producer, and an arts bookkeeper. Her background is in management of small NFPs, disability rights and feminism.

It’s always concerning when people choose abortion solely due to impending disability, in an ableist culture, without being fully informed from the perspective of disabled people.

Better off dead? What Peter Singer doesn’t get about disability and euthanasia. By Craig Wallace
TW: Singer’s views on selective infanticide of disabled babies, voluntary euthanasia, eugenics, suicidal ideation, involuntary sterilisation of disabled people and ableist justification of the murder of disabled people
https://www.crikey.com.au/2015/08/17/better-off-dead-what-peter-singer-doesnt-get-about-disability-and-euthanasia/?wpmp_tp=0?wpmp_tp=0
Craig Wallace was (until 2016) the President of People with Disability Australia, a leading cross disability rights organisation in Australia.

Many disabled people have concerns about voluntary euthanasia that need to be considered. Craig does well, in this article, to explain those concerns.

Disability – a fate worse than death? By Stella Young
TW: euthanasia, assisted suicide, ableist comments and assumptions about the worth (and quality of life) of disabled people’s lives
http://www.abc.net.au/rampup/articles/2013/10/18/3872088.htm
Stella Young (24 February 1982 – 6 December 2014) was an Australian comedian, journalist and disability rights activist.

Another excellent article explaining the concerns that disabled people have about introducing voluntary euthanasia.

 

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