Thursday, September 24, 2009

Issues, Boy Have We Got Issues! Autism, Texas Institutions and Assisted Suicide

There is so much going on in the disability community at the moment... And if you ask, as I mentioned in my last post, Where Does this Lead? The answers are pretty upsetting...

Let's start with this:

Institutions: Now, just a few months ago the world was horrified by the story of Fight Clubs in Texas institutions where staff goaded residents to fight for their entertainment. And Texas, rather than investing in the tough work of dismantling this system and its culture of contempt and violence REWARDED the system by superfunding it...

Where did this lead?

This makes me ill.

Assisted suicide: Bill Peace talks about England's developing stance that although helping kill someone is against the law, in the case of 'severe disability' it may be understandable and not be prosecuted.

Where does this lead?

Over at Not Dead Yet, Stephen Drake has the sad story of a woman in Arizona with a disability who killed herself and was hailed in the newspaper as a hero for doing so... Disgusting--especially since most of her 'struggles' could have been alleviated by a decent public transit system, affordable healthcare and a caring community...

Pitiful, uneccessary and portrayed--sold--as perfectly understandable.

Where does that lead?

Y'know, outside the disability community, many folks see Down syndrome as 'severe.'

And now another disability organization sells out its constituency for the almighty dollar... They get funded while teaching the world that autism is evil.

Where does this lead?

Will it help parents, neighborhoods, schools, communities and employers welcome people with autism into community life? Will it increase understanding and acceptance, increase funding for things like assistive technology and other things that improve lives for people with autism?

Yesterday I heard a mom say that she wouldn't have her young child vaccinated against H1N1 for fear of autism... does she really fear autism more than death?

Why would she, do ya think??

Here is a disability campaign I like: and here is a place where you can create your own campaign poster (and be in a contest!)

Trouble of course is that pity is lucrative... solidarity isn't. There should be something we could do about that,

In the meantime, pandering for bucks has a name...

Not a nice name...

So what can we do?

We can speak up, we can look for new and clever advocacy strategies, we can be present and visible and heard and expect respect... We can build something better.

If we pay attention and ASK!!!

Where does this lead????

We can be consistent and we can STOP the messages about disability that will lead us places we don't want to go.

On your mark, get set, GO!!!!

We have a lot of work to do!


rickismom said...

I know that we had here a group that used very negative language ("suffering", "struggling downtrodden families"..., etc.) in their fundraising brochure. I kept writing them till they changed it- at least they did!

Terri said...

It's funny, people often look at what they want not always at what they cause. It was good you could point out the impact they were having--and that they listened!