Medicaid Block Granting is Going to Kill Us

Congressional Republicans recently introduced the American Health Care Act, or “TrumpCare,” a potential replacement for the ACA. This bill has the backing of Trump, Ryan, and other Republican leaders. The AHCA includes a proposal to convert Medicaid into a series of block grants as a way to save the government money on health coverage. Block grants are a type of federal funding that allocates a set amount to state governments to run programs like Medicaid. According to the Republicans, block grants will give more freedom to the states and allow more flexibility to be innovative. In theory, devolving more control to the states will allow local governments to more adequately identify which citizens need specific kinds of care. Unfortunately, these promises from the GOP don’t match the reality of what Medicaid block grants mean, especially for the low-income and disabled people who are dependent on Medicaid coverage to stay alive. … Continue Reading ››

New Study on Autism and Aggression Misses the Point

There is a new study in the latest issue of the journal Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders on a correlation between autism, brain volume and aggression.   The team of researchers from Brigham Young University studied structural MRI data from the brains of 45 Autistic boys and 18 non-autistic boys to see if the brains did similar things or different things in the presence of “aggressive behavior.” Autistics who had been reported as exhibiting so-called “problematic aggression” had smaller brain stems and did not show the non-autistic tendency of structural differences in the brain structures linked to emotions and behavior. The brain stem is the part of your brain that keeps you breathing. The most basic functions of life are regulated by the brain stem, leading Stephenson, one of the study’s authors, to extrapolate that the discovered correlation means that, “this is evidence that there’s something core and basic, … Continue Reading ››

This Week in Neurodiversity

Each Friday at NOSmag, I post some links relevant to neurodiversity news and culture criticism around the web. This is what I’ve been reading and that I think you should be reading too. Feel free to add links of your own in the comments and email suggestions for future link roundups to nos.editorial@gmail.com. "We Are Not Burdens and We Don't Deserve to Die": A Disability Day of Mourning Roundtable" featuring NOS editor Sara Luterman, NOS contributor Cara Liebowitz, and bipolar badass Victoria M. Rodríguez-Roldán, among others. Amy Sequenzia rejects the concept of "intelligence," especially when it comes to her and her fellow nonspeaking typists. #CripTheVote is hosting a Twitter chat on March 12 on protecting the ADA. The Autistic Self Advocacy Network has released an action alert to give you the tools you need to help save the ADA and Medicaid. Play Overwatch? Fan favorite Symmetra has been confirmed autistic. … Continue Reading ››

How Kellyanne Conway Sits Doesn’t Matter

Recently, White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway was photographed kneeling on the couch in the Oval Office, staring intently at her phone, as a crowd of dignified African American educational leaders in suits posed for a photo with President Trump. Some of the social media responses were genuinely funny, some were cruel, some posed serious concerns, and some were just plain ridiculous. But the overall picture they form is, not surprisingly, an unfairly judgmental one. Many commenters accused Conway of uncouthness and unladylike behavior. Many faulted Conway's upbringing. For example, one  comment I saw asked if she “even had a mother,” implying that anyone with parents would know better than to put their feet on the sofa. This is part of a much larger trend of judging human beings, particularly women, by their appearance and behavior at every moment. It's remarkable how much we believe we can tell about a person … Continue Reading ››

Speechless O-S-Oscar P-A-Party Reinforces a Dangerous Stereotype

I love ABC’s Speechless.  It is one of my favorite shows currently on the air. As someone with cerebral palsy, I’m beyond thrilled that someone like me is finally being shown on TV as just a regular character, not a “special” guest to teach the non-disabled characters the meaning of kindness. Micah Fowler, who plays JJ, actually has cerebral palsy, a fact that excites me to no end. Unfortunately,the show has a worrying trend of sort of sideways swiping a trope or stereotype about disability, but not directly subverting it.  It’s like after the first few episodes, the show lost its nerve.  And nowhere was that more obvious than the latest episode, O-S-Oscar P-A-Party. In it, Maya hosts an Oscars viewing party for her support group of “special needs” moms. The moms are your typical stereotype of a mom parenting a kid with a disability – Perpetually messy, sweatpants-wearing, warrior moms … Continue Reading ››