When trying to decide if your business is a good fit, ableist microaggressions can be a red flag to a disabled candidate. Comments like “you don’t look Autistic” or “I can’t believe you are dyslexic your application was so good” may be well intentioned but the subtle implications of such statements suggest that you think of these conditions negatively.
first chapter, entitled ‘the spread of diagnostic culture’, starts with the provocative statement that each year in Western countries, around a quarter of the population will suffer with a mental disorder. Should we interpret this as evidence for the progress of psychiatry in identifying and treating mental illnesses that have always existed? Alternatively, might it be the case that modern life somehow creates new conditions, or social pathologies? Brinkmann argues that a third, more fundamental explanation is needed: the development over recent years of what he calls ‘diagnostic cultures’. Increasingly, psychiatric diagnoses have become the lens through which people in Western societies understand ourselves and our suffering. They have substantially displaced religious and moral conceptions, and have also come to play an important role in our bureaucracies and our broader social arrangements. Partly, Brinkmann argues, this has been driven from above by those with a vested interest in these explanations, for example psychiatrists and drug companies. However, he also contends that citizens themselves are increasingly pushing for ‘pathologisation from below’, seeking diagnostic explanations for the various problems that we encounter in our lives.
Inclusion at the systemic level is seeing beyond categories, not just expanding the categories on which to focus. We’re not “doing neurodiversity this year” when we recruit white male coders, having focused on women or LGBTQ last year. Systemic inclusion is where we start to match ALL job competencies to people’s strengths and we reduce barriers in recruitment that don’t relate to the job. By all means, keep using computerized testing to identify competent coders, and interview people who don’t have qualifications for jobs that require people skills, but don’t expect applicants to fit neatly into diagnostic categories and come ready packaged with pre-determined skills.
– Inattention: For many girls with ADHD, maintaining concentration is a constant struggle. They may have trouble focusing long enough to complete tasks both at home and at school. Don’t be thrown off by hyperfocus. Some people with ADHD are capable of focusing endlessly on things that interest them but can’t sustain attention on less interesting but more important tasks: A girl might read a novel cover to cover but find herself unable to finish the one-page book report.
– Distractability: Girls with ADHD may also be easily distracted by outside stimuli, and prone to what Dr. Quinn calls “internal distractability.” Unconsciously swept away by their own thoughts, they end up completely missing things going on right in front of them.
– Hyperactivity: Some girls show more “classic” signs of hyperactivity: being excessively active, struggling to stay still. Most, however, display the urge to be in motion more quietly, doodling, fidgeting, or constantly wiggling in their chairs.
– Impulsivity: This, too, looks somewhat different in girls than boys. Girls may be overemotional, unable to slow themselves down to process their feelings. “Girls are more likely to be chatty and verbally impulsive,” says Kathleen Nadeau, director of the Chesapeake Center for ADHD. “They interrupt and talk out of turn.” Impulsive girls may struggle to interpret what is and isn’t socially appropriate and have trouble making and keeping friends.
– Executive Malfunctions: Many of the issues associated with ADHD stem from poor executive functioning skills. Girls with ADHD can display poor time management and struggle with multi-step directions and task completion. Important items often go missing, sometimes remerging in surprising places: My phone was in the fridge? I have vivid memories of rushed, stupid mistakes that cost me dearly on tests, key buttons (ahem) left undone, vital papers lost only to be found, far past due and squashed beyond recognition, at the bottom of my backpack.How to Tell if Your Daughter Has ADHD
- The main symptoms of HKD are impaired attention and overactivity. Both are necessary for diagnosis.
- Impaired attention – manifested by a lack of persistent task involvement and a tendency to move from one activity to another without completion.
- Overactivity – characterised by restlessness, talkativeness, noisiness and fidgeting, particularly in situations requiring calm.
- Early onset – behavioural symptoms present prior to 6 years of age, and of long duration.
- Impairment must be present in two or more settings (e.g. home, classroom, clinic).
- Diagnosis of anxiety disorders, mood affective disorders, pervasive developmental disorders and schizophrenia must be excluded.
Current ADHD Diagnostic Criteria – DSM 5
Below is the shortened version of the criteria used for diagnosing ADHD.Current ADHD Diagnostic Criteria – DSM 5
I’ve come to understand that when I pass as non-disabled, when I say No, the best that I can hope to be is an inferior version of an ideal of normality that allows only for the narrowest range of body types, cognitive styles and life trajectories, that equates the worth of a person with her economic productivity, that fetishes independence and disavows our connections to each other, and that seeks to discriminate arbitrarily between those who are allowed their full humanity and those who are denied it.
Part of me would be more comfortable with the term ‘condition’ than ‘disorder’ because of the judgement implicit in the latter. But ‘disorder’ to me is an important acknowledgement of the havoc frequently, but not always, created by extreme manic, depressive or psychotic episodes. These states result more easily in some than in others. When and how this happens is a result of myriad dynamic, interconnected factors, some personal and biological, many of them circumstantial and social. However, my lived experience leaves me with the firm conclusion that there is an intrinsic, physiological way in which at least some people who experience mania and certain forms of depression are different from most people. That difference is not, in itself, a disorder. It’s just a difference. But it is a difference that makes those experiences more likely to happen to me than to others.
Insisting that disorders are not real (and/or that there is no congenital physiology involved) erases this difference and elides the complexity of my identity and my experience. Akiko Hart has written eloquently and comprehensively about this. It is much more useful to criticize the construct of psychiatric disorders in terms of the normative and invalidating power being deployed depending on when, how and why the term ‘disorder’ is used. Broad acceptance of a purely biomedical understanding of psychiatric disorders can condemn people to an existence defined by pathology. The construct of “personality disorder” is particularly abusive in this regard. At the same time, it is critical to recognize that some people find the term ‘disorder’ helpful and representative of aspects of our experience or even of our selves.
So much of what gets pathologised in neurodivergent people is just the dents and scrapes and rusty bits that come from being neurodivergent in a world built for NT’s, or even just from being human in a world that is at least as rough on humans as it is on well-used wagons.
If you blame the wagon for the dents, if you have professionals giving lectures on the distressing tendency of wagons to develop dents, if you start staging interventions on every shiny Radio Flyer you can identify to stop them developing dents while you are still dropping them off the roof and running programs to get dented wagons to polish themselves up, you know what happens? You completely miss what you are seeing. (But you build a certain number of exciting careers.)
— Read on montgomerycal.wordpress.com/2019/12/29/little-red-wagons/amp/
Many of our conflict management issues come from lack of perspective. Without proper context for our emotions, or the conflict itself, we spin out of control.
— Read on adhdhomestead.net/difficult-conversations-worse-adhd/
1. Minimizing transitions or motor planning demands
This post really began when I realized all at once that most people probably don’t arrange their entire lives so as to substantially reduce motor planning demands.
I realized one day that if other people don’t have some kind of major motivation to absolutely minimize the number of motor transitions they have to make in a day, that if those extra actions didn’t cost them anything, then the fact of their being expected would make a lot more sense.
3. Mitigating inertia and smoothing transitions
When I was a kid, I would beg to be allowed to do homework in front of the TV, and try to argue that I worked better with the TV on. I knew it wasn’t really true, but I didn’t know how to explain the way I was actually trying to help myself, which was by smoothing out the anxiety and inertia triggered by starting, stopping, and changing activities.
Let’s look at a sign of academic “laziness” that I believe is anything but: procrastination.
People love to blame procrastinators for their behavior. Putting off work sure looks lazy, to an untrained eye. Even the people who are actively doing the procrastinating can mistake their behavior for laziness. You’re supposed to be doing something, and you’re not doing it — that’s a moral failure right? That means you’re weak-willed, unmotivated, and lazy, doesn’t it?
For decades, psychological research has been able to explain procrastination as a functioning problem, not a consequence of laziness. When a person fails to begin a project that they care about, it’s typically due to either a) anxiety about their attempts not being “good enough” or b) confusion about what the first steps of the task are. Not laziness. In fact, procrastination is more likely when the task is meaningful and the individual cares about doing it well.
When you’re paralyzed with fear of failure, or you don’t even know how to begin a massive, complicated undertaking, it’s damn hard to get shit done. It has nothing to do with desire, motivation, or moral upstandingness. Procastinators can will themselves to work for hours; they can sit in front of a blank word document, doing nothing else, and torture themselves; they can pile on the guilt again and again — none of it makes initiating the task any easier. In fact, their desire to get the damn thing done may worsen their stress and make starting the task harder.
John Cassian, a monk and theologian wrote in the early 5th century about an ancient Greek emotion called acedia. A mind “seized” by this emotion is “horrified at where he is, disgusted with his room … It does not allow him to stay still in his cell or to devote any effort to reading”. He feels:
“What unsettles us is not only fear of change. It’s that, if we can no longer trust in the future, many things become irrelevant, retrospectively pointless. And by that we mean from the perspective of a future whose basic shape we can no longer take for granted. This fundamentally disrupts how we weigh the value of what we are doing right now. It becomes especially hard under these conditions to hold on to the value in activities that, by their very nature, are future-directed, such as education or institution-building.That’s what many of us are feeling. That’s today’s acedia.” From: https://www.cnn.com/2020/09/22/opinions/unrelenting-horizonlessness-of-covid-world-couldry-schneier/index.html
The personal website is a somewhat mysterious animal that lives mostly unobserved in the jungle of the Internet. A few inexperienced Internet users who live completely within the golden-walled gardens of Facebook and Google may not even be aware of the species’ existence. Other inexperienced users may consider the personal website to be either extinct, like brontosaurus, or a myth, like Bigfoot or the Abominable Snowman. The truth is that many specimens exist in the wild, but in order to successfully hunt the personal website, a hunter must know the habits of this species well.Hunting the Nearly-Invisible Personal Website via BoingBoing
Since August 2018 I have run a social network site called Friend Camp for about 50 of my friends. I think Friend Camp is a really nice place, and my friends seem to agree that it has enriched our lives. I’d like to see more places like Friend Camp on the internet, and this document is my attempt to provide some practical guidance as to how you might run a social network site like this.How to run a small social network site for your friends
The range of potential symptom profiles that can emerge from the varied deficits in social communication and behavior in ASD results in a complex behavioral presentation. The use of general, overarching diagnostic categories in complex psychiatric disorders such as ASD has often muddied genetic studies with these groups. Therefore, defining quantifiable components of the phenotype that are theoretically more closely tied to genetic vulnerability than a qualitative diagnosis helps to isolate traits for genetic and neurobiological analysis [133–135]. Investigations of component traits in biological relatives can also broaden our understanding of the complex systems that underlie social communicative behavior and offer insight into how these systems go awry in ASD. An interactive model of genetic, neurobiological, environmental, and protective factors may explain why significant deficits are present in affected children while only mild challenges are measurable in relatives. In depth examinations of the familiality of component traits provide a more complete picture of ASD’s etiology.
In contrast to this long continuing tradition of thinking of the self as just one thing, a few philosophers (like William James) and psychologists (like Ulrich Neisser) have suggested a non-reductionist alternative: that the self is more than just one thing. These pluralists about the self suggest that there are a number of selves (the social self, the psychological self, the narrative self) or that the self is complexly many things – embodied, social, psychological, cognitive, narratival, etc. I’ve suggested that the best way to think of this is to think of the self as a pattern of different processes, dynamically related to one another. These processes include those associated with bodily processes, including proprioception; and when these processes cross the threshold of consciousness, minimal, pre-reflective self-awareness; psychological, cognitive, and reflective processes, including memory, those processes associated with affect, and those that constitute our intersubjective (social) relations, our capacity to self-narrate, as well as all kinds of normative factors related to cultural practices. Feel free to add or subtract aspects that you think should be included in or excluded from the self-pattern. The important thing is that this is not simply a list of aspects. If we think of these self-relevant factors as processes that are dynamically related to one another, then we can think of them forming a dynamical gestalt, a complex pattern. And the self is what we call this pattern.
Today, I met a new PA at uni. This is a different kind of support, to add to that which I already have in place, so I was very apprehensive. What we did during the session was to put together a list of things that it’s useful to know, in order to support me effectively. This list is not exhaustive – because of the nature of support work, you often have to work with lots of people, who only get to meet you at short notice, and it’s difficult to get information to your team in advance. So it’s important that the list is something that can be given to the worker at the start of the session, and that they can look through quickly without being “over-faced”. So the list prioritises things that someone needs to know as soon as they meet me – taking into account that at this point, I’m likely to be extremely anxious, and not as competent at verbal communication as I ordinarily am. Other things I can explain as I get to know each support worker over time.
“I want people to know that not speaking is not the same as not thinking; that poor fine motor is not the same as not thinking; that impulsive actions are different than not understanding right from wrong; that poor facial affect is not the same as not having feelings; that boring people to death is denying them life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” Ido Kedar, [p. 34]
This quote really struck me. Autistics are often deprived of consistent forms of communication, and often treated with powerfully sedating medications because of “behaviour,” which can actually be frustration at not being able to communicate, and/or apraxic motor skills deficits. Apraxia can turn meaningful intentions into disorganised and chaotic involuntary movements. It does not reflect on the person’s capability or worth. In Ido’s essay, he clearly shows frustration at not having his innate abilities respected; it would be horrific if he were treated as if he lacked those abilities, for his entire life. Perhaps the diagnostic evaluations for communication disabilities should be redesigned?
Apraxia is something I also have. It causes me to be quite wild and crazy in my movements and actions, much like author Larry Bissonnette, who after finding a communication avenue writes, “It was Larry the artist now rather than Larry the wild and crazy autistic guy” [p. 57]. Sadly, I have been denied the help I need to integrate my sensory and motor systems. Similarly, Emma Zurcher Long describes herself as laughing out loud when someone is sad, which leads to people thinking she has no empathy. This is not the case. She feels empathy very strongly, and she emotively describes this. But we autistics may appear to have inappropriate emotions in response to emotive situations, because apraxia can cause us to not act in a way we intend to. But we relate to emotions. We feel them.
The Charitable Model understanding
Disabled people have also identified the ‘Charity Model’ of disability – taking this approach, disabled people are portrayed as weak, vulnerable and needy, relying upon charity ‘handouts’.
Many of the larger disability charities continue to perpetuate this negative image of Disabled people to the general public to encourage them to continue making donations.
Much of the charity ‘industry’ is run by non-disabled people, with many charities using a substantial portion of their income to maintain the charity itself rather than support or empower the disabled people they claim to represent.
A lot of campaigning has been undertaken by disabled people over several decades to highlight and challenge the fact that the management committees and staff teams of many of the big charities did not include the disabled people they represent. “Nothing about us without us” and “Rights not charity” have been rallying cries for the disabled people’s movement in the past.
Many disabled people believe that the struggle for civil, human and legal rights and full inclusion in society should be the focus for organisations and charities, not making ‘special’ or segregated provision or treating disabled people as in need of sympathy or care. If the public feels sorry for us, disabled people would argue, we can never be equal citizens.