Friday, April 20, 2012

Capability and contribution

People with CP who are assumed to be "retarded" but who are then discovered to be able to communicate with their eyes and write dissertations. People who are "severely retarded" but who could make progress if somebody reached them early enough and with enough wholehearted dedication.

If you do not look for a possibility, all you will find is a disability. 

Everyone has hope if you pursue it. Our problem is not enough treatments, not enough early assistance and not enough confidence in the human mind's ability to expand. You know what part of the schools get the most budget cuts in many states? You guessed it, the group of us who need the most assistance.

Temple Grandin: she smeared poop, she didn't talk, she screamed. But she was helped. She is the leading person in her career.

Carly Fleischmann: She hit herself, she had frequent meltdowns, they talked about her like she wasn't even there. Now she speaks with a computer, takes advanced placement classes, and wants to go to UCLA and become a journalist. She doesn't even talk with her mouth.

Stephen Hawking: because of his ALS, he can only move his head to type. He is one of the world's most renowned physicists.

Helen Keller: she flew into rages and was violent, she had no speech... her parents didn't know what to do with her. She went on to become a writer, a public speaker, and a legend.

I believe that capability is not stressed enough and that is why there are not jobs for some, because we don't make them available. Can you only communicate by twitching? Be a public speaker, a writer, a physicist, something that lets you use what you have in your head: words and brainpower. Plenty of people make plenty of money just because they can use their brains. Are you really a very intellectually challenged person? First, someone should have helped you better. You could have made at least some progress if you had intense help from a thoroughly dedicated person. But you can still be an artist or work with animals or with human beings who need love. Just think of the amazing therapies we could have if we let people with severe challenges spend time with people who needed compassion. That's what many therapists get paid for. My counselor mostly just had to listen to me and be kind. At this point my problem is pretty much with the whole world's view of the matter. I believe that if we were more integrated, people would see what we are capable of.

An anecdote from my dear uncle Pat: 

"A wonderful experience; some time back I was at a neighbor’s house along with some other folks; six all together. This one lady there; (not to sound harsh) is somewhat slow; some may say she has a very low IQ. That being painfully said, no one was talking to her; she was cut off a few times when trying to speak.

I started to talk with her and found out her interest were the local animals in the woods. She feeds them and observes them. She told me more about the animals than I may have ever known. She knew how many cubbies of quail are around here. She has named many of the animals and knows their habits and even some of their individual personalities. Want to know when the humming birds will show up, just ask.

I had a question for her because It seems like every day I would have a new gofer hole spring up in my back yard and I mentioned it; she said their gone now so no more new holes will show up and she was very correct, no more have.

It was fascinating and soon the others listened in and before long the entire group was almost mesmerized by what they were hearing. Everyone learned a great deal about whom our animal neighbors are and it made me feel like the animals are family; they are family to this lady and that’s for certain.

It goes to show that a little respect can go a long way and no matter whom it is they have a gift for you. It seems that offerings don’t hide from us; we hide them.
That lady made some friends during this gathering; friends she should have already had. Everyone has a deserving place on our little blue planet, everyone."

Great thanks to Kao for starting up my brain and making me make sense!



  1. While I agree with the fact that there should be jobs for those with an impairment somehow, and a skillset in another way, and get most milleage out of the skills they have is a good way to A. employ people and B.make them shine in their field

    However, in my experience, there are enough (and with that I mean, pretty much all I encountered) employers who do not care about it. Skills is one, but the ability to function like a "normal" (or in this case Neurotypical) person, is valued more over that bit of lateral thinking some of us might bring to the table. I've been told numerous times "get therapy, but don't expect us to hire you". And that even was when I was in university. The moment I pitched that I'm halfway to a diagnosis on the autism spectrum, my counselor blew me off with "so what? do you expect special treatment?" while actually, all I was saying is "I'm having some issues with the college program here, I need support for it".

    Also; is it the duty and/or responsibility for an employer to create a job for you? I don't think it's really shifting the focus away from a disability, because in a way they're employing you by means of something like "charity" just to get people with an impairment to hold a job. Companies run a mostly commercial game, and every small bump that costs them money (or time; because time is money) is not worth the effort to them, no matter how "important" that job is.

    I do however agree with the fact that people need more support and guidance. I also think people, especially those at job centers, should be more understandable and informed about various impairments someone might have in regards to the road of employment, especially if it's on a medical file. In my experience some people don't have a clue what autism even is. And I don't see that changing either, I can't get that message across whenever I'm over for a review of my current situation, and job centers do not want to invest in training and education for their employees, which is understandable, because that money has to come from somewhere.

    I don't want to discourage people on the spectrum to aspire a career. Far from it. I hope everyone finds something they enjoy, but even in this day and age it's really silly up to the point that it's ignorance, not cost-efficient to support people the way we might need it besides the fact that some of the greatest minds with a disability got some chances to be heard somewhere. I even feel that those opportunities are shrinking. It's also the irony of the digital age. We as people (the world population) don't care about content as much as we should, and rather judge people on trivial criteria to be accepted and heard. And that's a shame.

  2. Wow, the woman your Uncle was talking with sounds cool. And Carly has been an inspiration for me. I periodically lose the ability to speak. Taught myself how to finger spell and have been planning to teach myself ASL, but Carly, well she inspired me to look for another solution. So now, I have an app on my "smartphone" that will take anything I type and say it for me when I cannot. Way better than signing.

    I agree, we need a world where everyone is loved and encouraged, given opportunities for growth and ways to chase them.

    My parents were all at once everything right with the world, and everything wrong with it. My Mom loved me, encouraged me to find my way, helped me survive and even thrive. My Dad on the other hand didn't want me to start with, that I was "retarded" (his word not mine) meant I was a burden and a target for even more violence and abuse.

    Day by daym the NT world proves it doesn't even work for them, maybe, just maybe, we can all work together to find our way to a world that really does embrace and encourage diversity. A world where the goal of all beings is growth and happiness, not fitting in and becoming overworked, under paid, ignorant and arrogant.

    Just a thought. Momma always said I could be anyone I wanted to be when I grew up if I loved myself and did things one steps at a time when I could. To make lists if I needed them (I do) and break things up into small steps and just keep working at it without hurting myself. My father beat me and sent me to my room to sit on my hands not moving or saying a word. I'd meltdown, and he'd beat me for that too. Couldn't function, get out of bed, leave my room, he'd beat me for that too. Light/sound/taste/texture/smell/whatever was to strong or not strong enough, trigger me, and yup, you got it, he'd beat me and tell me that I was going to be taken away to the funny farm...

    So I survived in spite of him, did the best I could for as long as I could, then married a guy just like my Dad and that cost me everything. Including coping skills I'd built up over a lifetime, so I'm starting again.