Communication about disabilities

Disability Services Queensland has put together some great resources about how to communicate with people with disabilities, and additional tips about guide/hearing/assistance dogs.  Towards the bottom of the page, there are several links- two in particular are exceptional.

The first is “A way with words: Guidelines for the portrayal of people with a disability”.

The purpose of this booklet is to promote inclusiveness and the fair and accurate portrayal of people with a disability.  It is intended as an aid for professional communicators, such as journalists, writers, producers and broadcasters, and provides suggestions for appropriate language, interviewing techniques and media coverage involving people with a disability.  

While that description does sound rather dry, the booklet is very engaging and readable, with great cartoon illustrations throughout.  Some of the recommendations include emphasising individuality (eg emotions, interests, problems, talents, frustrations, faults and roles), not disability; avoiding superhuman or excessively emotive portrayals, and not focusing on the person’s disability unless it is important to the story. There is also a list of words to avoid, with acceptable alternatives.  One suggestion given was to use the phrase “uses a wheelchair” instead of “confined to a wheelchair” or “wheelchair bound”, because a wheelchair provides mobility, not restriction.

The other link that I found useful was the Medical Signing Board.  There are Yes/No/I Don’t Know options across the top, front and back models of the body in the middle, 15 options for medical issues on the left (eg hot, cold, vomit, headache, bleeding, broken, seizure), 12 communication options on the right (eg need more information, call someone, worried, too loud, hungry), and a visual 1-10 pain scale at the bottom.  The second page lists some things paramedics might do (eg blood pressure, take temperature, bandage, medicine), a short social story, visuals for wait/be still/calm down, and some interaction tips for the paramedics.  Very thorough- wish I’d had this for Abi’s last admission!

Autism and SN Guides Qld and beyond

One of the incredibly resourceful ladies I’ve had the privilege of “meeting” through Facebook has put together two very indepth resource guides that she is keen for people to share wherever they would be useful.

A Resource Guide & Ideas for Therapists, Teachers, Parents and Carers working with people with Special Needs- covers a multitude of topics, and is well worth checking out.

The Queensland Autism Parents Handbook is 101 pages and is a comprehensive guide to autism services, support, tips and ideas for Qld. The book is most relevant to Qld but is a valuable source of info wherever you live.

Disability and Politics

Several articles by Stella Young (formerly of ABC’s “Ramp Up”, currently writes for ABC’s “The Drum”) and Graeme Innes (former Disability Commissioner). I enjoy reading their articles – their explanations of life with a disability, how that affects their integration into society, as well as how politics and policy (often negatively) affects many people with disability.

We’re damned by discrimination, not the DSP. – Stella Young

We need a voice for people with disabilities. – Graeme Innes

Life skills program teaches wrong lesson. – Great article by Stella Young with a much-needed different slant on a much-publicised news article.

Disabling rorters? More like punishing scapegoats. – Stella Young

Outgoing disability commissioner Graeme Innes gives parting words to Tony Abbott.

If we’re not lifters, it’s because society forces us to be leaners. – Graeme Innes

Liveability is more than coffee and cobbled lanes. – Stella Young

Ten Disability Awareness Lessons Learned From Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Autism Articles

Autism/SN articles I’ve enjoyed – they have made me laugh and/or think.

Autism – What you actually need to know – a very humorous look at Autism!

Autism in the media – News show snippets – anyone else get a little tired of hearing about the celebrity du jour who “got their child back” through ABA, then tipped a bucket of money into some venture that they’re using the media to promote?  Me too.

Six benefits to having an Autistic child – things you may not have thought about, that definitely are benefits!

The perks to having an Autistic teen – ditto above.

To the sibling of a child with special needs – a beautiful letter from a parent about how much they’re loved.

Aspie training 101 – this is a really clear explanation of the slower mental processing (executive functioning) that occurs with non-specific instructions.

Aspergers Superpowers – Rainman is Rainman.  Our kids have their own amazing narrow-interest specialisations.

Decoding the High Functioning label – very thoughtful article about why the high-functioning/low-functioning labels aren’t helpful.

The Great Disclosure Debate – some interesting points about whether to disclose your child’s diagnosis, and whom to.

How do I help my friend whose child has recently been diagnosed with ASD?

Mommy war zones – just the latest (Autism) variation of breast vs bottle wars.