Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Dissing dissbility

Recently MK has been talking a lot about how he does not see autism as a disability. His argument is that, because it doesn't cause any problems, it cannot be a disability. Basically, he's saying, "I'm OK, Jack!" And of course he is right. He is OK. There is nothing wrong with him.

On the other hand, it is an interesting question. The government in these parts shells out 22K more each year for his education than it does for the education of his classmates. He has an IEP and a classroom aide, and we expect the teachers to adapt programs to suit his needs. As he grows older, it is likely that he will continue to benefit from some adaptations. In the world we live in, it's hard to request adaptations with the justification of a disability. I wonder how this might effect MK's self image.

For my part, I am able to recognize my disabilities and I don't feel that they make me any less of a wonderful and modest person. MK does not seem to be able to accept his own mix of disabilities and abilities in that way. I read the adult autistic bloggers on the Hub and I get some idea of attitudes that can be taken to specific autism issues, but I don't yet see how I can pitch any of these attitudes to MK.

Of course, MK may not ever come to accept his differences as disabilities. There are people who do not accept their own limitations, and struggle (both successfully and unsuccessfully) to eliminate them. I think it results in a rather flat personhood but ultimately, it's going to be his call.


mcewen said...

Well I think we all agree that 'variety is the spice of life,' which whilst being a 'truism' is infinitely better than a loads of old clones.

VAB said...

Depends who you mean by "we." You and I, sure! MK and his ASD peers, not so much. But we are working on it.