Monday, June 5, 2017

Adults can offer valuable perspective on life with disability

“Autism Awareness” puzzle-piece ribbon magnet
Photo by Cynthia M. Parkhill

Parents often seek support from other parents when a child has a disability. Meriah Nichols advocates mixing blogs by adults with disabilities into a parent-blog reading routine.

Reading blogs by other parents can comfort parents to know that they are “not alone,” but sooner or later, Nichols argues, it’s a good idea to venture forward.

“In expanding your friendship and reading circles to adults from the disability community, you will likely see things from an altogether different perspective, and one that is often highly enlightening!”

Nichols’ advice takes particular urgency for me as a person on the autism spectrum. From seeking other parents’ like-views, it takes only a small progression to join a group organized around a particular disability.

People need to ask: to what degree do people who actually experience that disability, shape the disability-group’s policy?

A group purporting to “speak” for me may hold very different priorities than I might hold for myself — particularly when it relies on fear-based rhetoric to promote its agenda.

When making her argument, Nichols includes links to seven blogs written by adults with disabilities. Her statement in summation I could as easily apply to my own writings and experiences: “These blogs are not always about disability, but disability is an intersection in that person’s life.”

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