Archive for the ‘disability blog carnival entries’ Category


Disability Blog Carnival Number 64: caught us with our pants down

March 1, 2010

Okay, before people start rolling their eyes and wondering just who in the heck would come up with such a bizarre and inappropriate theme, allow us to reassure you that the theme is definitely NOT contained in the title of this post. We had simply forgotten that we were the hosts of the March blog carnival, so it really did catch us with our pants down!

The theme of our issue of the disability blog carnival is the following: breaking down stereotypes. We posed the following question: if you could break down one single stereotype, which would it be and why?

The first response t0 this question comes from Spaz Girl at Butterfly Dreams, a Candidly Crippled teenager. She puts AB’s (able-bodies) and disability advocates alike on notice with her desire NOT to be considered “just like you.” If anyone has questions as to why someone wouldn’t want to be considered like everyone else, consider the following: how annoying would it be if, say, you had worked really hard at something but no one really thought much about it because “everyone can do that?” Would that not take away from, or cheapen, your experience or ability to have done whatever it is that you found hard but were told “everyone can do that?”

Well, that’s exactly the reaction of many disabled people who are told by anyone (but probably even more so by other disabled people) “you are just like me?”

Having the same disability doesn’t make any two people just like one another. Being told thus, cheapens both of their collective insights, experiences, feelings, struggles, and everything else that contributes to who they are as individuals. Thanks, Spaz Girl, for your insight.

From Angel, we have a poem about life as a blind person. It doesn’t directly get into the question of which stereotype the author would most prefer to refute….perhaps until the very end. Stereotyping IS prejudicial behavior……for sure. I think that in her poem she is asserting that she is who SHE believes she is, and not what OTHER PEOPLE think she is. So more or less, I infer that the stereotype she’d like to break down the most is…..that disabled people are only what and who others think they are, they cannot possibly be their own persons, if that makes any sense.

Moving onto something that directly relates to autistic people…’s an entry from Joel about autistics with certain abilities…..not being taken seriously and instead dismissed by nonprofessionals and professionals alike, as not being autistic at all, or not being autistic enough, to speak for “others who are obviously more impaired” than they are. This type of argument is quite honestly ludicrous, and extremely unproductive. I can’t think of anyone worth their weight in salt, who could actually benefit from a melodramatic spat over highfunctioning versus lowfunctioning, what characteristics constitute which label, and things of that nature. It’s just a waste of energy to even think about, let alone get embroiled in a heated debate about. Unless a person has done stuff to give others a good reason to doubt what he or she has to say (repeatedly lied about other aspects of his or her persona…..doesn’t include lying to avoid harassment) that person needs to be given due respect….innocent until proven guilty kind of thing.


Deadline for DBC # 64…..

March 1, 2010

will be until the end of the month. Therefore, we will keep updating our entry as we get new submissions…….since we completely forgot about it, we thought it would only be fair to extend the deadline, while at the same time posting entries that come to us earlier.

Entries can either be submitted as comments to this entry, to our email address

kryakivan at gmail dot com

or sent to Penny, who will inform us of entries she receives. Sorry for the delay……

The Integral, who thinks Ivan forgot to tell us about this….it happens.


Off to the Future!

September 5, 2008

We’re on our way

To seize the day

To have our say

Off to the Future!

Never givin up

Athena wants a sippy cup

The current administration is morally bankrupt

Off to the Future!

With each coming dawn

We all hurry on

Never idly sitting on the lawn

Off to the Future!

We want to finish school

To have a job that’s really cool

So that we can help other disabled people make their own rules (of how to be treated)

Off to the Future!

I’ve just got the time

To write one more rhyme

Blast off, crank that homework, have a diet soda with lime

And never forget

What your mission in life will be

One foot in front of the other, see?

Come anon, make haste, we haven’t got a moment to waste

Off to the Future!


44th DBC- Disability Superlatives

August 29, 2008

Apologies to all avid DBC bloggers for the somewhat late posting. 

We collectively chose the topic “Disability Superlatives” because we figured it was broad enough for many people to participate and contribute, and would combine positive and negative aspects of society’s views of disability, and personal experiences. 

For our part, one of the most interesting things that happened to us was 4 years ago while waiting to be picked up from class at our local community college. Unfortunately the details (the good part) of the conversation we had with a wheelchair user that afternoon have been lost to time, but the memory of how we felt remains for the foreseeable future. I (for ease of writing; refers to Athena) was chatting with the girl in the wheelchair…..I think her name was Jackie……about how people with disabilities should be viewed…….I told her at one point in the conversation that “just because you cannot walk doesn’t mean you can’t do many of the same things I can do” (that don’t involve walking, of course. I was talking about intellectual stuff, probably.) And she seemed pleasantly surprised by my declaration. I was like………well DUH, of course that should be the way to see it. I think she was surprised to hear the clarity with which I declared that she was just as capable as I was, despite not being able to walk. The experience made, and still makes us think about just how much disablism is still engrained in people’s minds, whether they know it or not. To be honest, I hadn’t been able to think about my experience in such detail until just after I wrote the first words of this entry! 

Anyhow, that’s our bit, now onto the submissions! With superlatives of interesting and irritating both in the same short entry comes a piece from the BBC’s Ouch! Magazine. I must say I was more irritated than interested with the fact that a Paralympian was not given her dues in acknowledgement.  Next, we have a description of a far more irritating occurrence from Abigail; of a nondisabled person occupying a restroom labeled with a wheelchair symbol. I must confess, we used to use them too, until just after we read that submission. Ya learn something new every day, it’s true. 

I would guess that this next post, courtesy of Little Frumhouse on the Prairie, would take the superlative “most outrageous,” because it’s about society’s liberal use of the r-word, and how it’s perceived as acceptable. Cheryl went to town on disability superlatives, with an explanation of the “worst words” vis a vis disablism/ablism/disability culture, and exactly how and why she feels the way she does about those words. Excellent contribution, and an aspect of my topic that I hadn’t fully thought about til now. 

Here’s a short and pointed post from Paula, about a very silly, insensitive game. This (the subject matter, not the post itself!) definitely fits the superlative categories of “stupidest”, “most ridiculous”, and “most outrageous” in terms of insensitivity to the disability community as a whole. Everyone ought to be offended, disabled and nondisabled alike, that kids even come up with these sorts of word games. We certainly are. 

More from the category of “most irritating”  from Tera at Sweet Perdition, who writes about her disdain for functioning labels. We agree, they do suck royally. 

Next is another post about the Paralympics, and it starts out somewhat sarcastically referring to superlatives such as best, most, and others. It has more to do with sports and athleticism, but it’s notable nonetheless. Sarcasm is also a good segue between irritating and outrageous, and perhaps less negative or even more positive themes.

On a very different, more positive note, potentially fitting into the category of “most hopeful”, Bint Alshamsa of My Private Casbah shares a piece on disability culture and how some of us define our lives and the words we use to do so. 

I’m almost done with this, but I’ve completely run out of energy so I’ll have to add the last three posts and the host name for the subsequent carnival later today. 


Again, apologies for the delay. We have procrastination issues, and the Democratic National Convention, getting ready for school, and a bunch of other stuff kept us busy this week. 


The Integral


39th Carnival: If I knew Then

June 8, 2008

Actually, the real title of our entry is “If we knew then”…..

We have wondered several things over the years:

If we knew then, that we were autistic, what would life have been like? Would we have been further along in our development of independent living skills, or would we not have gotten as far as we have now? We have an associates degree, our driver’s license (finally!) and we’re mostly satisfied with life. Still, we wonder what life might have held in store for us had we found out, and had our parents found out that we were on the spectrum, when we were much younger. Our parents heard very bleak reports for our future when we were very young (body age about three) but thankfully they did not pay those bleak reports much mind. 

If we knew then, that our worries about being bipolar would actually be taken seriously and we’d wind up in the mess we did (heavily medicated for three years, unable to function, unable to use our minds well. etc), would we have shared our concerns with others? Most certainly not! What we had to go through with the misdiagnosis, that stemmed from our fears, and the subsequent overmedication and loss of mind functions, was nothing less than horrible. We wouldn’t wish something like that on our worst enemies! Well…..put it this way, Athena and I (The Integral) wouldn’t. Ivan might, if he’s in a particularly foul mood. 

If we knew then, that so many people with various disabilities were being discriminated against, stereotyped by an under-educated society, and were the inspiration for so many “outreach” groups such as Autism Speaks, to advocate (very actively!) an extermination of disabled people due to the burden placed on others by their existence, we (certainly myself and Ivan) might very well have gotten into disability advocacy much much earlier on than we have (Athena would have as well, albeit in a different capacity, probably). 

I (The Integral) meant to write a much longer post on  this topic, and Ivan planned to contribute a good deal separately himself, but life got in the way, and so did the crimson tide. Men just don’t dig that at all(or have that issue in the first place, lucky them), so Ivan left us for a week. 

We procrastinated a fair bit too; or as we like to say, time ran too darn fast. 

The Integral (with input from Ivan and Athena)



38th DBC Entry: Our thoughts on Disability and Spirituality

May 13, 2008

Once again we have a very fascinating topic to work with and write about for this next installation of the awesome Disability Blog Carnival. I (Ivan) will try to elaborate on all of our thoughts on the subject. 

We are all Eastern Orthodox Christian. Athena’s significant other/friend and mentor to myself and The Integral is Eastern Orthodox, and Athena and the rest of us had been investigating that religion for some time. The fact that D was born into it, and it requires that all of its adherents marry other Christians, prompted us to accelerate our learning and understanding, for eventual conversion and baptism. Athena met D at a very dark time in our lives; we were under a misdiagnosis of bipolar disorder and had to take several heavy medications, including lithium and depakote. (there’s my topic for whenever I host a dbc edition.) We were exhausted, physically and psychologically, on a near-daily basis. At some point Athena was convinced that we were all dying of cancer, because our body was just so damned run down and worn out all the time. We weren’t DOING much physical activity to speak of, and so we were all flummoxed (utterly confused) as to why we were so tired. We later discovered that our tiredness was a side effect of our medication. We slept lightly and fitfully at best, and our sleep was rarely the restful kind. We could lie in bed with our eyes closed for hours but never really get our quota of needed “rest and relaxation” that would keep us from being so tired all the time. Medication can mess with many different body systems. 

What does this all have to do with disability and spirituality? Well, during that very dark time in our lives, we prayed a lot. I mean, every day, several times a day, hoping that we would be heard at some point. We needed SOMEONE to hear our despair and desperation, and we found solace in Jesus Christ. Our lot didn’t improve drastically, but our prayer and private time with Christ made life possible. Eventually I (Ivan) gave the others an ultimatum: we could either quit our meds and stop the bullshitting around with our life and leave our parents’ home to figure ourselves out, or we could all die and take the rest of the family with us. I tend to be somewhat of a militant, hence the two drastic options. Needless to say, since we’re all still living, we chose the first option. I believe that prayer led to our finding that particular solution to our problem. It was not a perfect solution, but it was the only viable, ecclesiastically legal solution we had. It was the one solution we came up with that would allow us to be free of the pharmacological thieves that were robbing us of our minds, our body’s physical strength, and the very essences of who we were. The Integral had been living in suspended animation, not dead yet not alive. In fact, we didn’t realise how separate our identities were (me-Ivan, Athena, and The Integral). We were only focused on living by the minute, passing the time, and most nights going to sleep and praying that we wouldn’t wake up the next morning. 

So spirituality and religion has a very, very important function in our lives. We although think that our disability -(now correctly diagnosed, might we add. well, as correctly as possible. autism and asperger’s, what’s the bloody difference?)- has a major role in how we interact with our Lord. 

Most of our prayers are silent, in that we do not outwardly vocalise, but allow God to listen to our thoughts. We aren’t gifted orators when it comes to prayer, so what’s in our minds has to suffice at the moment. 

We dealt with the dark era of our existence in a very autistic fashion, even though we were not diagnosed as such at the time, we were interested in analysing every little detail of our feelings throughout the days and months spanning those three years, to the fullest extent that we were able. Spirituality, as I said before, helped us, nay, allowed us, to survive that time of chaos and destruction to our minds and body. 

I hope this is along the lines of what the topic is supposed to be about. 


with input from The Integral and Athena



Disability Identity: What does it mean to us?

May 4, 2008

All of us are quite proud of the fact that we’re made unique, by our individual personalities, and even by the common thread of being on the autism spectrum. If one imagines the spectrum to be the number line, then we take up three points on the graph (obviously it’s not that simple, but the persona writing this needs something concrete to think about. Please forgive the gross oversimplification, it’s just to get the thought out, we don’t think of it like this most of the time. But then most of the time we aren’t writing about how we feel vis a vis disability identity. Thinking about that is one thing, putting words to the thoughts is another thing entirely). This is what makes us unique despite the common thread of autism. One of us, Athena, wants to tell “the whole wide world” (her words) that she’s autistic and very proud of it. That’s a fact, but it’s not always a good idea to tell everyone you meet that you have such and such disability if it’s not readily apparent. The unfortunate reason for that, as countless bloggers have pointed out, is that not everyone is mature enough to appreciate the depth that people with disabilities have, mentally and spiritually; even thoughts who are not religious at all. Spirituality can be what makes people relaxed, being one with nature, or things like that. Athena also wishes she could stim in public and say things that would obviously be looked down upon (but they feel good so why can’t I say them?- again her words). She wishes that her significant other/our best friend could bounce her on his knee in public if that’s what she asked for (whether she would or not, different story, that’s just an example. he can’t bounce her on his knee anywhere, because she’s loads heavier than small kids parents bounce on their knees.) Another personality, Ivan, often has to tell her not to do this or that in public “because people will think you’re the r word” or something like that. He uses different words, but that’s the gist of his message. He tells her things like that not to be mean, but because he realizes that people have awful, wrong prejudices about disabled individuals/multiples. He does not want her to hear pity remarks, or feel vibes of mockery from anyone she encounters. In this way his idea of disability identity is somewhat different: he is in no way ashamed of being autistic, but he tries to be more guarded about whom he informs of his autism. Sometimes, he forgets his own advice, or one of us (myself-The Integral, or Athena) take over at a moment’s notice and forget what he’s told us about self-identifying.) Sometimes we feel pressured to say something in awkward silence, or we feel a pressing need to explain our behaviour because of perceived vibes from people, and our mouth opens…….”and it’s off to the races.” Words come out faster than our mental filters can process them as they exit our mouth as soundwaves into the open air. While this type of “foot in mouth” or “oops I said too much” experience is not unique to disabled persons, it’s often more embarrassing to us (as in the three of us, and possibly many other disabled persons/systems, though I cannot speak for anyone else except the three people in this body) because we’re more likely to get called out on it, or have others notice and make remarks, or even be more aware ourselves that we’ve said something we shouldn’t have.

That aspect of disability identity…the fact that we know we say and do things that we’re embarrassed by, as a direct or indirect result of our being autistic and ADHD, is something that we’d like to forget about at certain times but we realise that if we’re going to say that we’re truly proud to be who we are, we have to accept the unpleasant aspects of disability, and not try to hide them under the rug or gloss over them. I’m not saying people should obsess over spilled milk so to speak, but just remember that balance is the key: for every stupid thing you remember saying or doing, think of x number of good things. Or whatever else it takes to feel proud of yourself again, to embrace every aspect of your being, if you need to do anything at all.

For us, as I’ve said before, embracing ourselves to the fullest means accepting completely our autism/adhd/disability identity.

PS: I’m aware that the quality of the writing went downhill as the post went on, but once again I procrastinated and ran out of time, plus this time I had other things to do (getting ready to move back to Maryland from Florida….that takes time and energy….and we rescued another cat…she’s now in the care of someone more experienced with that stuff than we are)

Collaborative, Athena, Ivan, and The Integral.

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