Thursday, November 23, 2006

Disability Blog Carnival #4

Welcome to the 4th Disability Blog Carnival and thank you to everyone who has contributed. I hope the way I have organised this makes sense. If anybody spots any glaring mistakes or broken links, please let me know.

Different Ways of Going about Things

Disabled people are regularly attributed with various qualities which we may or may not have; bravery, pluckiness and so on. However the one quality which I have most consistantly noted among my fellow crips has been adaptibility; the ability to seek out and adjust to a different way of going about things, a different way of looking at a task or indeed life itself.

Our remarkable ability to innovate and adapt is what makes humans such fantastic and successful animals - this is not a talent exclusive to disabled people. However, as Lady Bracknell said back in April, necessity is the mother of invention, and disabled people simply have the need and opportunity to demonstrate this more than most.

Different Ways of Living

Suzy at Tryin' to Imagine Bliss writes that Sometimes It Takes An Illness to force you to do what you really love. This is a theme taken up by Charles Dawson at The Meanderings of a Politically Incorrect Crip in Thoughts That Lie Too Thingummajig for Words;
To develop an impairment in adult life can mean, to be given a second chance, if you want to look at it like that. To get off the treadmill. To say, well, I can't do this-or-that any more, so what else can I do?
Belated Happy Birthday to Gordon, who in 25 years (and five days) on at Gordon's D-Zone reflects on the disability lessons of the first 25 years of his life. Amanda at Ballastexistenz discusses the ways in which she uses quite different cognitive processes from non-autistic people in order to do things in Doing Things Differently.

Zephyr at Arthritic Young Thing writes about her experience of shame and gradual acceptance of Living Off Disability, something I can relate a great deal to myself;
I've spent the majority of my life on disability income assistance. I felt ashamed and humiliated about that for a long time. It's hard to not be able to support oneself. It makes you feel sub-human, like you're not a fully functioning member of society.

She goes on to discuss the situation for people on Disability Benefits in Canada in these two subsequent posts.

In the wonderfully entitled This is super long and unedited, but if you want to read about my sexlife this is probably your only chance, the author of Letter to my Children writes candidly about sex, marriage and disability. Meanwhile, Pete at Rocky Spring's Blog talks about the innovative ways his friend has adapted to having one eye in One Eyed Medical Engineering.

Different Ways of Communicating

Stephen at Planet of the Blind shares a poem with us entitled Talking Books. Blue at the Gimp Parade opens an informative debate on "Web accessibility" for the disabled vs. for everyone. Meanwhile, Wheelie Catholic writes about her new electronic page turner (and her cat) in A real page turner.

Amanda at Ballastexistenz writes a really fascinating post about Learning Communication Skills from Autistic People.
When I was a certain age, I was very confused about communication. It’s hard to describe that state of mind in a language that is developed mostly through use by people who have not had the experiences I have had. Even many autistic people I know have not had this experience. I have, though. Remember, that I was not thinking these things in language. Remember also, some of these things are things I may have known before, but forgotten in one of the brain-scrambles of puberty. I have no way of knowing at this point, all I know is what it was like for me.

Different Ways of Having Fun

Turvy at Off to Great Places tells us about Dog Show Weekend and how she is finding new ways of attending the shows and carrying her photography equipment with her;
There is nothing particularly innovative about my rig. Rather, I knew what I wanted to be able to do and knew that the walker I was sent home with wouldn't work. I proceeded to set about finding solutions that would work for me; to give me the flexibility and freedom to achieve my goals. Search Engines and the Internet were my advisers and friends!
At Life with a Disability, Bill Tipton writes about his adventures Picking Apples without Sight (Bill might be interested in Sara's recipe). Ziggi at Wheelchair Diffusion informs us about The Golden Access Pass, an admission card available for disabled people in the US which awards free entry into National Parks and other attractions. Ask Patty covers a project to encourage disabled people to take part in motorsports in Ask Patty supports Motorsports; Living life in motion.

In Ahoy! Disabled Divers Welcome Scott at the Rolling Rains Report takes about The Dive Pirates, a group that takes disabled people diving. Meanwhile Vicki at Down the MS Path offers some resources for people with MS who wish to practice yoga.

Different Ways of Shaking One's Thing

Autism Diva writes a glorious celebration of A thing of beauty: The joy of spinning and flapping. Zephyr is inspired by a video about Crutch Dancing!, whilst Imfunnytoo at Did I Miss Something? has her own perspective on Dancing;
I loved to dance. I'm not talking about dance-as-scheduled-performance.

I'm talking about dance-as-connection-with-something. Dance brings me closer to music.

Wheelchair Dancer is High, high, high, flying high, high high following an opening night's performance New York. Which is always good to hear.

Different Ways of Learning.

In Thinking Outside the Box, David at Growing Up with a Disability writes about the unique way in which he completed his high-school education;
It seems to me that in our society, many decisions are made for people with disabilities by simply doing what has always been done. Each of us needs to think for ourselves about our own individual goals, and then use our toolbox of tools to make the best decision.

And in Failing to Cheat, Andrea's Buzzing About describes the way in which a lack of imagination in educative practices can disadvantage children with conditions such as ADHD;
After all, it’s generally thought a child with perfect hearing should be able to understand directions. Included in this are the assumptions that in addition to basic sensory hearing, “hearing” includes being able to maintain attention (listening), being able to understand what is heard (decoding), and also knowing what is meant by those words (interpreting).

Ettina at Abnormal Diversity discusses the advantages of homeschooling and the other ways that she finds Differing ways of going about things to get an education. Meanwhile Katie at A Personal Eye View writes about Things I never knew but found out about the Ouch podcast;
I think that people with mild or minor learning disabilities find that it does take them quite a bit of time to learn about things anyway but with the help and support of others it does help a great deal, and the support of family and friends is invaluable, although it is advisable for them not to treat you differently otherwise we wont learn and make good progress, it will be a slow progress instead.

Different Ways of Making Our Argument

Inspired by a Google-search which brought a reader to her blog, Blue at the Gimp Parade asks Is Disability Access a Feminist Issue?. On a very similar theme, Sara at Moving Right Along filled in a Meme which has been all around the blogosphere which asks for Five Things Feminism has given me. (Blue filled it in last month).

Only in On Feet and Feminism Sara offers a surprising answer:
5. My Feet. Now, isn't that a funny thing for a transfemoral amputee to say? Yet that's what the rest of this post is about.
And what a post it is. Well worth a read!

Meanwhile at Everyone Else Has a Blog, Katie offers her own violent contribution to the debate on Stem Cell Research in Said the Man in the Coffee Shop.

The Challenges

If we didn't have challenges, we wouldn't having anything to adapt to. Disabled bloggers have certainly had a fair number of challenges this fortnight.

The Challenges of Access and Attitude

At Behindertenparkplatz (a German language blog) in Altenflegerin Christiane encounters that staple of wheelchair life; shop assistant who really really wants to help. Meanwhile, Stephen at The Planet of the Blind meets appalling customer services at Atlanta Airport. He explains How it Works and how it ought to;
How do I say this without becoming bellicose or just plain mean? These escorts had no training in working with people with disabilities and they had poor communication skills. One fellow insisted that I sit in a wheelchair if he was going to guide me. His method of expression was to shout loudly: "You sit! You sit!"
Kathy at From The Port describes a pretty shocking incident on the buses in She is unable to reach the buzzer.

Zilari, at Processing in Parts, considers Disability Rights Extremists and asks just who they are and what they are asking for. And Abfh at Whose Planet is it anyway? considers the stereotype that people with autism cannot make friends in Don't you believe them.

The Challenges of Impairment

Angry for a Reason writes about her BPD and a lost friendship, Cass at Cancer Giggles experiences Irritable Bastard Syndrome in the aftermath of the latest round of Chemo, and
Muttin/Jeff gives us A very long post of great anguish about how the symptoms of MS resulted in her arrest!
I think subconsciously I was going to punish myself by not having a lawyer or public defender because I couldn't live with my excuse... MS. It galled me to think so, to say so, and I didn't want to say the words "I forgot cause I have MS" as if it were an excuse. "I didn't take care of this cause I have MS". Sickening.
Challenges in getting the help we need

The Medical Humanities Blog writes about the Social Model of Disability. In a Big Long Post no one will read (I did), Writhing Safely discusses Evidence Based Treatment and the impact of a mechanistic model of mental health. In a similar vein, Joy at Ani mechapesset a'vodah examines the Them and Us mentality in Mental Health Services;
"They" just want to reassure "themselves" that they're not like "Us". And the danger then becomes when the "Us" try to reassure "themselves" of not being like the "them".
In a powerful Interview with Laura Tisoncik about Recovery from Autism, Amanda from Ballastexistenz talks to her neighbour Laura about improvements in her speech and her experiences as a 'high functioning' person with autism.
I always say that the difference between high-functioning and low-functioning is that high-functioning means your deficits are ignored and low-functioning means your assets are ignored. You know, either way, you get ignored.
Challenges In the News

At Once More Into The Breach, Xyba writes that The Church of England Backs Calls for Severely Disabled Babies to be Killed At Birth. This subject was also discussed at Did I miss Something?

Following the mid-term Elections in the USA, Katya at Broken Clay reflects on her voter experiences in Exercising the Franchise. Mark at the 19th Floor writes a To-Do List for the 110th Congress.

There was an article in the Seattle On-line Newspaper The Stranger which posed the question Should the Handicapped be Banned from Express Buses? A number of bloggers mentioned this, including Lady Bracknell and Imfunnytoo . Nicky from Nicky's Nook responded in Should people be allowed to trample our Civil Rights?
I still can't believe that in 2006, the question is whether "the needs of people who are different" are worth it when someone would be inconvenienced. If this is truly the best generation, the most technologically advanced generation and the most forward-thinking generation as some like to claim, it is time we start fixing what is wrong, instead of trying to figure out how to trample other peoples' rights.
Seatles hasn't been doing so well this fortnight. Penny at Disability Studies, Temple U. notes the absense of disability issues in the city's Civil Rights and Labor History Project in Civil Rights online archive - where's disability rights?

Finally, special congratulations are in order

As mentioned here previously, Lady Bracknell's Editor received her MBE at Buckingham Palace on Friday following a happy resolution to long-running hat saga. An Unreliable Witness returns home one leg lighter after five months, five days in hospital. Meanwhile, Chase at Cut to the Chase has flown off with Christian to London to get Married at last. So heartiest congratulations to all of them!

The next Disability Blog Carnival will be held in two weeks time at Planet of the Blind on Thursday, 14th December.


Anonymous said...

Great job, Goldfish! Thank you. I've read a few, and look forward to reading the rest.


Anonymous said...

Very lively, very overstimulating.
Best wishes and Happy Thanksgiving.

Anonymous said...

What a reading treat for a long Thanksgiving weekend! You obviously put in a lot of time to give this gift to the community. Thank you!

Penny L. Richards said...

Excellent! Thank you so much, Goldfish, for taking this edition--you've done a wonderful job hosting. The next edition's special theme is "Traveling with a disability: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly"--just in time for the holidays.

Kay Olson said...

Fantastic, Goldfish! The turkey triptophan is giving me the sleepies, but I can't wait to read all this through!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the mention of United Spinal and Ask Patty's support of Life in Motion our Motor Sports program. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

AskPatty is sponsoring an online 'fun' raiser for United Spinal and Life in Motion the month of December! Check back on December 1st and link to our post to help spread the fun!

Jody DeVere
Ask, Inc.

Anonymous said...

You did a lovely job, Madame Goldfish, and I'm not just saying that because you linked to me and I simply adore seeing "blobolobolob" in my stats. When I first read what the subject of this carnival would be, I wondered how you would do it, because the thought that struck me was, "But that's everything!" Nevertheless, you accomplished the task both creatively (fitting, that) and comprehensively. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Wow, this was great. Great job.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to have missed the chance to submit, but this essay, written by my 11 year old son,Zac, speacks of how my disability affects him. Originally published in Chronic Pain Lifestyle.

These are my son's words. He's eleven years old. This is how he remembers what he considers the day I hurt myself. He didn't give this essay to me; he passed it in at school. He gave me permission to show it to you.

"It was a cold December day...the day that ruined my life. My mom had just left with two of my three sisters to go see a Broadway play. It was about two o'clock and I was home with my dad and my sister Molly. 'Zac get over here,' my dad barked. I had no choice but to obey. "We're cleaning off the roof,' he informed me. That's where the real trouble started. My dad started leaning out the window whacking away at the cold frosty icicles. I wish I was one of those icicles being whacked to my death so I wouldn't have to experience what is now me my dad and my family's painful life.Just as I was daydreaming about sports I heard the first groan. I quickly rushed over to the window where my dad was. 'Are you okay dad?' I asked. 'Yeah, I just felt a sharp pain in my back but I'm fine.' Dad don't do that anymore I thought, but I didn't have enough courage to say it. About an hour went on and the roof was almost clear except for the icicles my dad couldn't reach. So he went outside and threw the broom at the roof for about ten minutes, then he fell over in pain.

"For two months after that my dad was in horrible pain. When I asked him what the pain felt like he said, 'It's like having a migraine headache every day, and on your good days it's like just having a bad headache.' He had trouble walking and getting around to places, so he lay in bed as soon as he got home from work every day. We helped out as much as we could. Then suddenly his hours at work got shorter and the pain started getting worse drastically. He started seeing doctors and they gave him medicines that did zip nada zilch NOTHING. Then he had two failed back surgeries which did not only not work, but they made things even worse which I personally couldn't see happening.

So this was pretty much the worst thing that ever happened to me. The thing that made me want to quit life and burn in hell. It was like this for two years until my dad had to quit his job because he couldn't sit down for twelve hours a day and he was in too much pain so now he is home on disability and can only do a few things. He tries to go to all my sports games because that makes him feel better, and it makes me feel better too. But what happened to my dad is not all negative. The positive things, although not many, are that it has brought our family closer together. Even though we can't travel, we spend more quality time together than you could even imagine. Second, I look up to my dad now because even though it feels like he is getting stabbed in the back (literally) every second of his life he still does stuff with us and I look up to him for that. My oldest sister is applying early decision to Columbia University and she wrote about my dad in her essay, and how he was the most important influence in her life, even though he has so much pain. That was a thing that made him feel better. I really love my dad."

I really love my wife and kids. God bless, Colin

Anonymous said...

This is a great carnival, full of wonderful blogging posts. thanks for all your hard work on it.

Anonymous said...

Because we were on the road for a long Thanksgiving weekend, we're a little behind on our blogging. I've been poking my nose in here whenever I get a chance. So many posts! So little time! You've done a wonderful job organizing all these posts from your contributors. Thanks for the good read(s)!

M said...

I just discovered your blog and could not find your email address, so am sending this message as a comment.

I too maintain a blog and though it is not focused on the topic of disability, I do write about that, too, and everything in my life is affected by my illness, so really my blog is in a way all about disability.

Anyway, I wanted to see if you'd be interested in adding my blog to your links--I'd love to have some readers who can relate to some of what I'm going through (I have a chronic pain condition) and have had or are having similar experiences (of course it isn't just those who are disabled who can relate, but those who are do have a perspective that I'd love to hear more about).

Best wishes to you and I hope to be commenting on your blog in a more on-topic way once I get a chance to read more posts.


Karen said...

Hi! I am a first-year occupational therapy student. We were approached by a local children's hospital about adapting some games so that they can have a back to school carnival for their therapy clients (PT, Speech, OT). They want to use indoor carnival games that can be adapted so pretty much any of their kids can play. I'm racking my brain, but wanted to ask if you would consider posting about it - ie asking your readers with disabilities what kind of carnival games they would have liked to play as children, and how they could have accomplished it within their functional ability. Hope this makes sense. Maybe it will give us some good ideas to use with these kids. I came across your blog in an indirect way through DreamMom's and thought it was great. :)

Anonymous said...

Recently I took part in research to design accessible footpaths out of recycled chip bark and the testing of their usability for wheelchairs. I came to one very important conclusion. Let me firstly explain the testing conditions:

Tests involved attempting to push (or be pushed) in a wheelchair through 100mm thickness woodchip laid as a path. Well, if like me you are a wheelchair user you will already know what the result was! Yep you got it, the front wheels simply dug in and refused to budge. Any forward motion was in fact impossible (with or without assistance)

In an ideal world wood chip or bark would be the best possible surface in woodland pathways, cheap to produce, convenient to acquire and very soft to fall or walk on also hardwearing, environmentally friendly and of course cheep! But unfortunately not wheelchair friendly. So what is the answer?

To find the answer we need to go back in-time (No, not Dr Who style) we need to look at the wheelchair as it was designed.

In 1932. Engineer, Harry Jennings, built the first folding, tubular steel wheelchair. (The design as we know it today) That was the earliest wheelchair similar to what is in use today. That chair was built for a paraplegic friend of Jennings called Herbert Everest. Together they founded Everest & Jennings, a company that monopolised the wheelchair market for many years. An antitrust suit was actually brought against Everest & Jennings by the Department of Justice, who charged the company with rigging wheelchair prices. The case was finally settled out of court.

Anyway, that’s your history lesson for today but what this tells us is that design has not really changed that much for nearly 80 years! Yes, there are lighter versions but the basic style remains. Two big wheels at that back, two little wheels at the front.

Again going back in time we need to remember that in the 30’s wheelchair users were mainly institutionalised and having access to the outside world (let alone woodland areas and any public areas) was not expected or even considered necessary, let alone a legal right as it is today.

So the answer to the problem of gaining wheelchair access in not only woodland pathways but beaches, grass, gravel etc etc is very simply, redesign the wheelchair so that it meets the needs of today’s users, not those of 70+ years ago!


Anonymous said...

wonderful, you did real hard to organize all this for. I am very thankful for such a excellent effort........

~Lindsey said...

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