How to Plan Events That Prioritize Accessibility

Color Communication Badges by Button Justice League, on Etsy [Image Description: Three 1.5 inch pinback buttons each with a vivid color, a bold black word and a black shape underneath the text. From left to right: a “Red” button with a octagon, a “Yellow” button with a triangle, and lastly a “Green” button with a circle.]  Lydia X. Z. Brown @autistichoya [Note from Lydia: This originally appeared on Twitter as a thread on 4 June 2018, and is an incomplete list of suggestions.] Some tips on access-centered event/program organizing/planning (some are mine; many I learned from other fabulous folks): (1) When you put information about the event online, whether on (a) a website, (b) in email announcements, or (c) social media, only include images if you include alt-text and text-only captions. (2) Don’t rely on online/email/social media to get the word out. Call people too. Many comrades with intellectual disabilities…

Two Canada geese swimming in a pond with a fluffy gosling.

Dangerous Assumptions

These revelations, about presuming competence, human dignity, and the least dangerous assumption—they don’t apply only to kids who are secret geniuses. They apply to everyone. They are the most important for the kids who really do have intellectual disabilities, who really can’t read or use full sentences and who really do need extensive support.


Parenting Kids With Disabilities: How to Get Through Tough Times

Shannon Des Roches Rosa Content note: This article discusses abuse and murder. Photo © Steve Silberman [image: a white woman, standing behind a white teen boy with brown curly short hair. He is looking at the camera. Her arms are over his shoulder, his arms are up and tickling under her chin.] When parents like me talk about our kids with disabilities and intense support needs, we have to be thoughtful. We need to make it quite clear that our kids are much-loved and very awesome human beings. We should never, ever state or imply that any challenges we face as a parent are our children’s fault. We need to handle their privacy with delicacy. And we shouldn’t accidentally enable disrespect towards children who are already too-frequent magnets for morbid fascination, and pity. But we do need to talk, because our parenting gig is not like other parenting gigs.…


What the College Admissions Scandal Reveals About Privilege Inequality For Disabled Students

Photo © US Department of Education  | Creative Commons / Flickr [image: Three students at computer workstations, seen from behind.] Shannon Rosa Senior Editor Wealthy people using their privilege to bypass regular people problems like paying taxes is nothing new. But using that clout to exploit disability accommodations—to give their college-aspiring children truly unfair and also illegal advantages—is infuriating on multiple levels. As disability policy professional Rebecca Cokley noted at Teen Vogue: “This behavior is harmful because when celebrities and others with privilege use a marginalized community’s civil rights as a ‘VIP pass,’ it frames reasonable accommodations as something ‘special’ that you should be able to buy, versus actual civil rights that give people with disabilities an equal seat at the table.” Adrienne Wichard-Edds reported on the scandal for the Washington Post, from the perspectives of several irate parents of students with disabilities: “For children who really do struggle with…


Inspiration Porn: How the Media and Society Objectify Disabled People

Photo via Time.  [image: Florida State football player Travis Rudolph, a Black man with short natural hair, eating pizza in a school cafeteria at a table with a  white boy with very short red hair and glasses, who is seen from behind.] Kit Mead A while back, an example of inspiration porn crossed my Twitter feed: a Florida State University college football player sat down and had lunch with an autistic boy in a cafeteria. The story got picked up by the New York Times. I don’t fault the college football player very much, if it all (but I hope he asked the autistic student if the company would be welcome). The football player probably just saw a person likely excluded by classmates. He wanted to make sure the student was not alone. At worst, there is the element of pity involved, but the act itself was not ill-intended. I…

CinemAbility: A Review

CinemAbility poster via [image: Movie poster featuring a shadowy photo of a person in a wheelchair, seen from behind. Headshot of the actors Jane Seymour, Ben Affleck, Jamie Foxx, Marlee Matlin, William H. Macy, and Geena Davis are arranged in a diagonal over the wheelchair user, above large white text reading “CinemAbility The Art of Inclusion.”] Maxfield Sparrow CinemAbility: The Art of Inclusion (2018) Directed by Jenni Gold, Leomark Studios Closed Captions I recently and eagerly watched the new documentary CinemAbility: The Art of Inclusion via an Amazon rental. Although I have a couple of complaints, I don’t want to lead with them because the documentary overall was amazing and has been sorely needed. For those who only read articles’ opening paragraphs: you must see this film! You will not regret it. The documentary was filled with interview clips—actors, directors, casting directors, academics. I apologize in advance because I won’t…


Eliminating Restraints and Seclusion Improves Outcomes for Injuries/Trauma, Expenditures, and Student Goal Mastery

Photo: Nancy Marie Davis | Flickr / Creative Commons [image: sepia-tone print of a clenched fist, with superimposed scratched lines.] Maxfield Sparrow A little over two years ago, Crystal Garrett wrote an article for Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism about the long-term traumatic effects on her Autistic son of the restraints and seclusion used against him at school. Garrett chose to end her career as a journalist to stay at home and school Zachary herself. Garrett wrote, “We know a restraint and seclusion free environment is realistic. Virginia-based Grafton Integrated Health Network, an organization that works with children and adults with autism and co-occurring psychiatric diagnoses, went restraint and seclusion free ten years ago. Since then, their client and staff injury rate has dramatically gone down, while employee satisfaction has increased. They are now teaching their system, Ukeru, to others across the country, in order to create a trauma-informed…