A Documentary About “Scary” Kids Scares Me—On Behalf of the Kids

One of the families featured in A Dangerous Son (Source: HBO) [image: A white family of four, with two young kids, on a couch together.] Kit Mead kpagination.wordpress.com Content note: Discusses violence and abuse regarding children with mental illness and disability, and the Newtown shootings. I’m not going to watch “A Dangerous Son,” the HBO documentary that tells “a story about families with children who have psychiatric disorders that lead to violent behavior.” I’m going to avoid it mostly because I have already read all of those stories. Again. And again. And again. And I have found them incredibly disturbing each time—on behalf of the children who are being written off and exploited. Especially because, as Mel Baggs points out: Across violent and abusive sets of environments, we—the kids—are the only ones seen as having a violence problem. And those environments are so very often the context for “violent outbursts.” Like…

A dilapidated interior hallway of a former state hospital.

What Makes Institutions Bad

The worst part of institutions is not physical violence, obvious forms of abuse or neglect. It’s not even the experiences you don’t get to have. It’s the damage that is done right down to your soul, by living under the power of other human beings. Glamour makes no difference. Prettiness makes no difference. Size makes no difference.


Going to IMFAR 2016? Read These Articles About Autism Research And Presentations First

Photo © Bobby Wade/Flickr [image: White woman with long brown hair and glasses, giving a presentation at a TEDx autism conference.] Our editors Carol and Shannon are spending the latter half of this week at IMFAR, the International Meeting for Autism Research, which is May 11 – 14 in Baltimore, MD. If you’re going, say hi! You can also follow us on Twitter at @ThinkingAutism, @ShannonRosa, and (Carol) @AspieAdvocate. IMFAR has improved a lot: We are glad to see the annual conference welcome increasing numbers of autistic speakers and attendees, so that autism researchers can listen to the people whose lives they are studying (and ideally trying to benefit), and vice versa. But since our editorial roles include being autism research ethics gadflies, we have to note that IMFAR is still mostly about the medical model view of autism and disability (curing and fixing), rather than the social view (understanding…


I See All These Amazing Programs for Children

TPGA is observing Autism Acceptance Month by featuring accounts from autistic people about the differences accommodations (or lack thereof) make in their lives. Today’s story is from Mel Baggs, about the assumption that all kids should be able to work and play in groups — and that kids who can’t cope with group scenarios are just being difficult. Mel Baggs I see all these amazing programs for children Like really, really cool stuff, stuff that looks fun and educational at the same time, stuff that looks far more educational and far more rewarding than the school system, etc. I see them in documentaries, in videos online, in articles, etc. But then I’m always stopped short by something. Photo © Norton Gusky. Creative Commons License. [image: Schoolchildren of various races talking while gathered around a table.] Unless something fundamental changed about children between then and now. And in how children are…