I was conceived, unplanned, in Soviet occupied Latvia. I am also disabled. When I was born, I was born prematurely. I had deformed feet called "club feet" and I was very small. I was also born with developmental disabilities. Because I was unwanted I was sent to an institutional orphanage in Riga, the capital of Latvia. I lived there for 5 years, until my American family was able to adopt me. I have lived in America for 23 years now and I love it here! I think of my birth mother a lot. I am thankful she let me live. She did not see my life as a life not worth living. In America, I learned that this is not true for all unwanted and disabled babies. There are pre-natal tests people can take to figure out if they baby is disabled, so parents can make a decision whether to abort … Continue Reading ››
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweet us @NOSeditorial.
- Closed captioning improves literacy skills (and makes TV way more comprehensible for those of us with sensory processing issues).
- A newly public recording shows that the police knew behavior tech Charles Kinsey and his autistic client, Arnaldo Rios, were unarmed when they shot Kinsey this summer.
- Despite what the Washington Post says, there aren't hoards of non-disabled people on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).
- Self Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE) is offering paid policy fellowships for self advocates with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
- Autistic owned and operated business Stimtastic … Continue Reading ››
April has become a month of memory even if we don't often talk about it that way. In April, we remember the Autistic community's conflict with Autism Speaks. Four years ago, that struggle was all-consuming. It was impossible not to take a side. For people on the side I chose, neurodiversity, hope for Autistic people as we are, hope for a vibrant, diverse humanity, it was hard to go a day without thinking about what felt like an existential threat. Every day that went by was another day of cure research, another day when resources devoted to cure research weren't used to show the world what we knew: that an Autistic life could be a worthwhile one. Living under that oppressive sense that we were running out of time, that someone was always trying to wipe us out, wore people down. What we did about it wore people down. Exhaustion … Continue Reading ››
In Joel and Ethan Coen’s “Barton Fink,” there’s a scene where the title character (John Turturro), a pretentious playwright who’s moved to Hollywood, meets his new neighbor Charlie (John Goodman), an insurance salesman. Fink shares his ambition to tell stories about “the common man,” with Charlie piping up that he could “tell you some stories” several times. Fink doesn’t take the hint, simply steamrolling ahead instead of listening to the guy whose voice he’s supposedly out to capture. It can be a frustratingly similar experience for a member of a marginalized group trying to get a word in edgewise with someone claiming to advocate for you, especially if they’re being less helpful than they imagine they are. It can be mortifying to be told you’re hindering rather than helping, but someone who sincerely cares about their advocacy will make time to listen to those affected by it. And then there’s William Shatner, … Continue Reading ››
Chocoholics have reason to celebrate this April. The chocolate company Lindt is no longer supporting Autism Speaks. On March 30, Lindt USA responded on Twitter to concerned activist @lechatsavant. When asked about supporting Autism Speaks, Lindt tweeted: “Hi there. This year, Lindt USA has decided to move in a different direction with our Easter program. Thank you.” The company has not otherwise commented on the shift. Its website currently makes no mention of autism or Autism Speaks. While Autism Speaks’ official website still lists Lindt as a partner, that possibly refers to the company’s past support of the organization. This represents a welcome change from years past. Since 2009, Lindt has partnered with Autism Speaks during the month of April through its Lindt Gold Bunny Celebrity Auction. The coincidence of Autism Awareness Month with Easter enabled the fundraiser. In previous years, between 60 and 90 celebrities signed Lindt’s signature GOLD … Continue Reading ››