presume competence

Two blue text bubbles; the one on the right states, "Public Comment."

Let’s hope they don’t kick me off: these IACC public comments though…

So…I was recently appointed to the IACC, which is the federal advisory board that handles important autism-related matters at the national level. There were ~40-ish? people appointed in total, including 23 public members…and a full EIGHT of us public members are autistic! I am beyond grateful to have an opportunity to serve my community in …

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An Open Letter in Response to Mad in America’s “Neurodiversity is Dead. Now What?” article

Today I had the displeasure of reading an article in Mad in America entitled, “Neurodiversity Is Dead. Now What?” Written by a Black woman whose diagnoses range from autism to PMDD, the article makes an attempt to point out what its author views as inconsistencies in the neurodiversity movement. There are six primary points made …

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Twelve Days

My mother told me that when I was a baby/toddler, I had a fascination with the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” I used to script it constantly, singing it at socially inappropriate volumes (i.e. extremely loudly) in public places as well as at home – even when it was nowhere near Christmastime/winter. Another mother …

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Disability Justice is Social Justice; Lean In

Cue the lights, cue the music. The video starts. A young lady with Down Syndrome stands on a grassy football field, her eyes glistening with tears that threaten to roll down her carefully made-up face as she is crowned Homecoming Queen to a chorus of thunderous applause. The next few minutes of the video are …

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Love Letter to Reading/Writing

You were my first love. And I’m still hopelessly in love with you. Truly, madly, deeply. I remember how you were there for me when I was young. When I couldn’t always get the right words to form when I was speaking you helped me to express myself. When I didn’t understand what others were …

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Lessons from Imperial China, for Disability Day of Mourning (#DDoM)

“Would you bind my feet?” I was on my laptop in my living room entering grades into my online gradebook. Basically working from home for free (as usual…that’s #teacherlife for you, right?) on a warm weekday afternoon. The kids were afoot as they always were: my youngest daughter snuggled against my back as we sat …

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Face the truth: what you REALLY mean when you say “low-functioning”

I’m so freaking tired of people throwing around functioning labels. “High” functioning autism. “Low” functioning autism. “Moderately,” “mildly,” or “severely” affected by autism. Aside from the fact that these labels are arbitrary, divisive, imprecise, and inaccurate, they just don’t make sense.  As someone (not me) brilliantly stated, “Low functioning means that your strengths are ignored; …

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“Carter”: an exercise in presuming competence

I volunteer on Sunday evenings with our church’s worship and creative arts ministry for children. The kids take fun classes such as kick-boxing, art, hip-hop, cup stacking, Sign Language, music, Legos, etc, and Biblical concepts are interwoven into the lessons. Though children with disabilities are welcome into this program, most of those families seem to …

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