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Late Feb 2020 disability and ableism open MetaTalk thread
Work In Progress -- please edit
Description: This thread is continuing conversations about disability/ableism both on and off the site. It is a space for people affected by ableism to converse. You get to decide if that applies to you; if you're unsure or questioning, your contributions are welcome. This thread is for everyone to read, but mostly for disabled people to participate in.
Extended Description: Previous threads have discussed: <a href="https://metatalk.metafilter.com/25272/Anxiety-depression-ADHD-autism-bipolar-and-other-neurodivergences-on-MeFi">needs of neurodivergent people on the site</a>, <a href="https://metatalk.metafilter.com/25301/Open-thread-Disability-d-Deafness-and-neurodiversity">models of disability</a>, <a href= https://metatalk.metafilter.com/25404/December-open-thread-disability-neurodiversity-and-d-Deafness >conflicting needs and accommodations</a>, and <a href="https://metatalk.metafilter.com/25447/Disability-ableism-thread-access-intimacy-taking-care-of-each-other">access intimacy</a>. You absolutely don't need to read any of those threads to participate, but there's a lot of good information there if you'd like to peruse them!
This thread is a space to talk about ableism or converse with others affected by ableism. Again, you get to decide if that applies to you. This space is not about gatekeeping, and ableism may affect many groups, including chronically ill people, neurodivergent people, d/Deaf people, and others. However, no one is required to take on the label "disabled" or "affected by ableism." These threads are open to discussion of anything and everything about ableism and those affected by it. I'll provide a small prompt that people can use to get started if they like, or you can post whatever is on your mind. Don't worry if it's not related to the current flow of conversation. We encourage you to talk about your experiences, but please refrain from talking about other people's imagined experiences. Here are some ground rules to help with those goals:
1. Disabled and neuroatypical people should be talking most of the time. Neurotypical people without disabilities, take a step back and mostly listen.
2. Some neuroatypical, chronically ill, d/Deaf, etc. people identify as disabled. Some don't.
3. Some people prefer person-first (such as "person with autism") or identity-first ("autistic person") language. Please respect others' preferences and let them talk about themselves however is comfortable for them.
4. You don't need a doctor's diagnosis to identify as disabled.
5. Different people sometimes have conflicting access needs. Sometimes a group can't accommodate them at the same time.
6. "I'm here" and "I agree with this (quoted) point" comments are helpful and welcome.
7. Even more than usual, please try to be gentle with each other and yourself in this thread. (Especially because some of us, because of our disabilities, have a particularly difficult time dealing with expressions of anger.)
Thoughts to get us going (feel free to skip!):
I've been thinking about "accessible spaces" a lot lately. Accessible spaces define my life, because they determine exactly what I can and can't do. If you could design an accessible space (either tailored to your individual needs, or in general to be accessible for many people) what would it look like? This could be a room, a house, a transportation system, a college, a city, anything. I would love to hear others' thoughts on this, for a few reasons: 1) it helps others understand what accessibility needs actually look like and how to implement them, 2) it helps people with similar needs brainstorm ways to address them, and 3) it helps normalize disabled people's needs and the environmental structures that address them. Feel free to think within the constrains of our current technological capabilities, or go wild with your imagination. Say as little or as much as you like.
For me, an accessible house would be a small flat--no stairs, not so big that I get tired walking across it. It's either in a very quiet neighborhood or very well sound-proofed. There's central heat and air so that I can carefully control the temperature. All of the lighting is incandescent. The kitchen counters, sink, and cooktop do not have cabinets underneath them <a href="https://nmeda.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Wheelchair-Accessible-Kitchen-570x400.jpg">so that I can sit while I cook or clean</a>. There's a dishwasher. The bathroom has a built in shower seat that is actually at the appropriate angle to allow the water to hit me when I sit on it, but it folds up in case I want to use the tub. The sink has a countertop but does not have a cabinet underneath, and there is a stool I can sit on while brushing my teeth or washing my face. The bedroom has full black-out curtains and the bed is about knee-height (easier to get into, but not so much that it's hard to get out of). There is a walk-in closet that allows me to store my clothes on shelves or hangers so that I don't have to open drawers to get dressed.
To get a little sci-fi with it, my house would have a bus-stop right outside of it. There would be an app that allows me to tell the bus to stop, so that I can wait in the house instead of the heat or cold. The bus would always have plenty of seating. There would be a quiet section with some sort of noise-blocking field. I would select my destination on a screen on the back of the seat in front of me, and it would show me a map of the bus's movement. I would receive an alert when my stop is coming up and the system would send a notification at the appropriate time to the bus driver to tell them to stop (rather than requiring me to pull the cord neither too soon nor too late). The screen would tell me if I need to make any transfers. If I do, it takes me to a stop that is temperature controlled and has plenty of seating. I receive an alert just before the next bus arrives. There is never any fare.
What would your accessible space(s) look like?
Or, what would you like to talk about? How is everyone?