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Open thread: disability, neurodiversity, deafness and Deafness

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Final version as posted on 1 Sept 2019: https://metatalk.metafilter.com/25301/Open-thread-Disability-d-Deafness-and-neurodiversity


(This was a draft of a MetaTalk post. It includes input from diss track able, sciatrix, stoneweaver, and kanata)

draft title: Open thread: disability, neurodiversity, d/Deafness, and ableism on MetaFilter

This thread is a place for us to explain what ableism is (explaining two models of disability and some other useful concepts), and talk about how we can stop or reduce ableism on MetaFilter. You get to decide whether ableism affects you -- this thread is for everyone to read and for disabled people to (mostly) participate in.


I want you to know about two ways to think about disability. This will help us have a better conversation. One of them is the medical model of disability. The medical model sees disability as a medical problem of illness that doctors and patients need to solve. The other one is the social model of disability. The social model sees disability as a social problem of access that people in power need to solve. Most people and organizations right now think and act in terms of the medical model, so they prioritize "fixing" disabled individuals. But, in reaction to that, disability civil rights advocates use the social model. The social model asks us to think about what activities and spaces need to function, and whether the barriers that exist right now are necessary.

Some other concepts and tools we may talk about and explain in this thread:

  • conflicting accommodation
  • accessibility gatekeeping and how it hurts
  • the curb cut effect
  • how we figure out which model of disability to apply in a situation
  • some of the philosophy under the Americans with Disabilities Act
  • this idea in the ADA: the more power a person has, the more duty they have to accommodate disabled people

People on MetaFilter have many different disabilities. In a previous (July 30th-August 30th 2019) MetaTalk thread, we talked mostly about neuroatypicality and neurodivergence. Neuroatypical means that a person's brain brain works differently than society expects. Neurodivergent uses the social model of disability to say: that's not a bad thing, and if this person is disabled, it's only because society doesn't accommodate them.

But the brain-body distinction is kind of bullshit. So: this thread is for disabled people in general. d/Deaf people, wheelchair users and other mobility-impaired people, people with brain injuries, and people with mood disorders, anxiety, depression, ADHD, autism, bipolar, addiction, obsessive-compulsive disorder, DID/MPD... But that's just for illustration, not to limit participants to that list. If ableism affects you, come on in.

Some ground rules for this discussion (other people: please improve these but we should probably limit it to about 7 or 8 so we don't overwhelm people):

  • Disabled and neuroatypical people should be talking most of the time. Neurotypical people without disabilities, take a step back and mostly listen.
  • Some neuroatypical people identify as disabled. Some don't.
  • 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.
  • You don't need a doctor's diagnosis to identify as disabled.
  • Different people sometimes have conflicting access needs. Sometimes a group can't accommodate them at the same time.
  • "I'm here" and "I agree with this (quoted) point" comments are helpful and welcome.
  • 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.)

(Insert a few specific questions as springboard for discussion here -- include some that elicit difficult/negative experiences and some that elicit positive/constructive ideas and experiences, allowing for appreciative inquiry as well as critical inquiry.... some ideas follow)

  • What have you, other users, mods, or other people done that has helped or worsened your experiences around ableism and disability, on MetaFilter and offline?
  • In the previous thread, people talked about the difficulty MetaFilter has talking about autism and centering the experiences of autistic rather than allistic people (in particular, that allistic parents of autistic children have too often been centered in discussions of autism). How should we proceed in framing future posts (on the front page, in Ask MetaFilter, here in MetaTalk, or elsewhere)? Are there similar dynamics for other disabilities?
  • What are the joys and sorrows of your life?
  • (and so on)

This is a followup to the July 30th-August 30th 2019 MetaTalk post, "Anxiety/​depression/​ADHD/​autism/​bipolar & other neurodivergences on MeFi".

(Anyone who's improving this before posting: maybe use the readable.com Flesch-Kincaid score to make sure that it, and other parts of this, aren't written above, say, a 10th grade level, for better cognitive accessibility?)