The “Highly Sensitive Person” is Code for Autistic

By Jillian Enright: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Some accommodations are normalized while others are pathologized.

Everyone needs accommodations to thrive

I just read an article arguing that highly sensitive people (HSP) and autistic people are not the same. The article then went on to describe all the ways in which they are, in fact, The. Same. Thing.

The screen shot below was from the section detailing all of the “differences”, under the subheading impact of environment:

If I’m reading this correctly, HSPs require environmental accommodations in order to flourish, whereas autistic people require accommodations to thrive…

Can somebody please explain to me where the difference is?

For example, the article states:

“Research has shown that highly sensitive individuals have poorer developmental outcomes and an increased likelihood of behavioural and psychological difficulties in stressful and unsupportive early environments.”

Research has shown the exact same thing for autistics.

One study showed that the two greatest predictors of poor physical health in autistics were anxiety and sensation sensitivity behaviours — in other words, sensory processing differences, also known as being “highly sensitive”.

Another study listed the three most important predictors of quality of life for autistic adults, which were: employment, relationships, and social supports. In other words, a supportive employer, supportive partner, and a supportive environment.

I’m still not clear on where the differences are.

Car Rentals for People with Dwarfism

From Ability-Tools Staff: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Dan Okenfuss – Public Policy Manager, California Foundation for Independent Living Centers

It’s summer! Time for vacations to faraway places! Whenever I fly on a pleasure trip, I am usually renting a car at my destination, especially when visiting friends who live far from reliable public transportation. That way, I can comfortably drive with my family of four and carry our luggage.

Picking out a rental car for most travelers is fairly simple: just pick the appropriate size and capacity of car at your particular price points. However, it’s a lot more challenging for a family of four individuals with dwarfism (skeletal dysplasia) who are less than 4 feet 6 inches tall.

To accommodate this accessibility challenge, I usually rent a car with hand controls because I’m usually the driver and I can’t reach the brake or accelerator due to my short legs. I used to bring my own pedal extensions, but I found it difficult to connect them to the rental car pedals as I got older and less flexible.

The hand controls look like a motorcycle or bicycle hand grip that sticks out of the left or right side of the steering column. Usually, you turn the handle down for the accelerator and push the handle in for the brake.

Most major rental car companies have cars with hand controls available upon request, as long as you notify them in advance. I try to give rental car companies at least a month’s notice that I need a car with hand controls ready at my destination.

Sometimes, you can’t select this option on the rental car reservations website. You need to search more creatively. Therefore, I try to avoid any online hassles and call the rental car agent directly and ask for its “accessibility” or “ADA customer” desk. That way, you get in touch with the right expert who can best take your request and ensure you have an accessible car waiting for you at your destination. Remember to always get names, phone numbers and emails from the contacts you work with. That way, you are more prepared to book for future travel.

The 5 Stages of Chronic Illness No One Tells You About

By Erika Bohling: For Complete Post, Click Here…

When I was 13 years old I had just re-learned how to walk. I lost the use of my limbs when I was 12; having finally regained their use I thought my life had finally gotten back on track. Then I fell ill again. Shortly after, my beloved Nan passed away.

Seven years on, my life is finally starting to make sense. Something became very clear to me: dealing with being incurably sick was hard. There are many things that doctors do not tell you when you get diagnosed. If I could go back to my 13-year-old self and tell her everything is going to be OK, I would. But I can’t. So this is a letter written through the naive eyes of a chronically ill 13-year-old with the hindsight of a 20-year-old who’s on her way to figuring this all out.

1. Denial

Review: Paul Rudd’s New Netflix Show ‘Living With Yourself’ Captures What It’s Like to Be Split by Depression

By Jasmin Pierre: For Complete Post, Click Here…

I spent this weekend watching the Netflix series, “Living With Yourself,” starring Paul Rudd. The eight-episode series gives you funny, serious, shocking and mental health-related themes all in one. I was immediately hooked by the plot of the story.

Here’s a short summary: The lead character Miles Elliot (played by Rudd) currently hates his life. He hates his job and the fact that he can no longer keep up with daily tasks like he used to. He also hates that he no longer connects with his wife, Kate (Aisling Bea), who resents him because they’re having a hard time getting pregnant. Miles questions his purpose in life.

A co-worker suggests Miles goes to a place called Top Happy Spa in a strip mall. The spa is supposed to leave you feeling like a “being a better version of yourself” — but what they don’t tell you is that they literally make a better version of you. Miles is unknowingly cloned at the spa. Usually the original is killed, but Miles, who wakes up after being buried alive, becomes the first to survive.

DISABILITY DISCLOSURE

From JAN: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Introduction

Deciding if, when, and how to share disability-related information with a prospective or current employer can be overwhelming. The decision-making process requires answering a number of personal questions that may be different with each employment experience. There is no single right or wrong approach to disclosing a disability. The disability disclosure decision-making process can include questions like: “Do I have an obligation to disclose?” “When is the right time?” “How much information does the employer need?” and “How will disclosing the information affect my employment?” 

The remainder of this resource is a summary of issues and answers to some of the most frequently asked questions related to disability disclosure and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This information is relevant to both individuals with disabilities and employers.

Information about Disability Disclosure and Employment

Community Conversation Series: Developing an Intersectional Disability Justice Analysis

From DDP: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Join us for our second summer Community Conversation to learn about and discuss how we can deepen our political analysis, stay committed to an intersectional approach, and continue to evolve our thinking for the sake of creating a more just and equitable world. We’ll be joined by panelists Azza Altiraifi, Dessa Cosma, and Jasahn Larsosa.

Register at bit.ly/ccseries_2

The gifts and challenges of being a quadriplegic father

By Caitlin Gibson: For Complete Post, Click Here…

The routine varies a little each night — life with a newborn is unpredictable like that — but one thing is always the same: Before he goes to sleep, Josh Basile takes extra time to be physically close to his son, Calder. Sometimes Calder nestles into the crook of Basile’s arm and dozes. Other nights, if the baby is alert and wiggly, Basile lies down beside the co-sleeper bassinet and talks to his son face-to-face; lately, as Calder nears 12 weeks old, he’s started to smile at his dad. Basile’s partner, Katie Fava, often places their little boy on Basile’s chest, and helps hold him there.

“Katie is the one who does all the heavy lifting,” Basile says, and he means this literally. In the earliest stage of parenthood, so many of the demands are physical — the baby needs to be fed, burped, cleaned, dressed, rocked — and Basile, a quadriplegic who has only limited movement in his arms, can’t feed, burp or rock the baby. He can’t buckle the straps of a car seat, or wash a bottle, or change a diaper. His version of fatherhood is one that must transcend the limitations of a body that is immobile from the chest down.

But in the 18 years since the accident that left Basile paralyzed, he has learned to focus his attention and effort on what is possible, on the things he can do — so he goes to great lengths to make sure Calder can see him, hear him and feel him every day.

Atypical Autistic Traits

By Jillian Enright: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Challenging stereotypes and describing some lesser-known Autistic traits.

A lot of non-conforming and marginalized people are misdiagnosed in healthcare, (including mental health) and psychological diagnoses.

This includes female-presenting people (including cis-women), transgender folks-basically anyone in the LGBTQIA2+ community — people of colour, people impacted by poverty, and many others.

Identifying someone as Autistic can be difficult, especially if they mask well, because autism is a behaviour-based diagnosis: meaning, it’s identified based on clinical judgement, behavioural assessments, self-reported behaviours, and observations.

Unfortunately, many clinicians still hold out-dated, stereotypical ideals about what it means to be Autistic. This further perpetuates the difficulty in identifying people who have atypical presentations of autism.

Also, the DSM-V criteria for Autism sucks, so it’s easy to see how clinicians are being poorly trained to properly and accurately identify autism.

Autism is different for every single person, but sharing a common neurotype means we do share many common traits.

I recently came across an old tumblr post from 2015 outlining some atypical Autistic traits, and I identified with it so very much.

As people who haven’t really felt seen or understood for much of our lives, it can be extremely validating and comforting to realize so many others share similar experiences.

I made some updates to the original post and am sharing it here since it meant so much to me, I am hoping others will also find it helpful.

There are four categories of atypical Autistic traits described:

  1. Appearance
  2. Intellectual
  3. Emotional
  4. Social

Disability Rights California’s New Art Mural for Sacramento’s Wide Open Walls Festival

From DRC: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Featuring artist Raphael Delgado.

Disability Rights California is excited to join Sacramento, California’s Wide Open Walls mural festival.  This festival was founded in 2016 “bringing underserved neighborhoods public art that encourages a sense of pride and identity,” the festival organization says.

Wide Open Walls believes, “Art is an integral part of the human experience, and can empower, inspire and transform lives.” You can learn more about it here: https://www.wideopenwalls.com/about/history/

Disability Justice is About All of Us

Disability Rights California worked with Raphael Delgado to design and create a mural representative of the disability community.

We are excited to have this mural outside our Sacramento office and grateful to Raphael, who was mindful in his creation and inspired by representing how disability justice is about all of us. He created this piece inspired by Lady Justice, who is a personification of the moral force in the judicial systems, sometimes also referred to as Blind Justice as she is often depicted wearing a blindfold.

Of his mural on the L Street side of DRC’s Midtown Sacramento building, Raphael shared that he wanted to create a “monument to justice and to disability rights.”

Raphael’s mural depicts a personification of Blind Justice, but, as he states, “this time we’ve interpreted it differently.” The figure, whom he says also has nonbinary elements, uses a prosthesis in the form of a sword in place of one of their legs, and one of their arms is replaced by a wing, “meant to uplift and protect,” says Raphael. A wing and a sword – perfect symbols for DRC as a P&A, or Protection and Advocacy organization.

“There’s beauty, there’s power,” says Raphael. “I wanted to make [the figure] feel solid and strong,” but, he continues, “There’s delicate balance – it’s delicate and strong at the same time.” The colors Raphael used will also be one of the first things to catch a passerby’s eye, as Raphael made a point of selecting bright pigments full of vitality and energy.

The Reality of Chronic Pain Care

By Jenny Coffey: For Complete Post, Click Here…

You might hear me on the radio, maybe saying too much or sounding emotional about my medical care. About having illnesses with no known cures, which never get better, but do get worse. Knowing each loss of physical ability is never going to come back, unless or until there is a cure.

I have very real years of things just like this, and worse, being done to me, to treat what has no approved treatment known to modern medicine. For the small fiber neuropathy and complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) that medicine has been studying for over 145 years, there is no cure, and no FDA-approved treatment yet.

This video is one of the hundreds of similar awful treatments that I used to have to endure (Warning: the video below contains a graphic medical images). I was also still having to take opioids and narcotics, just to manage taking a shower, but not much else. I lived barely in a haze, with torturous pain, and what now seems like a battery of medically medieval treatments. I barely functioned and had many moments when I didn’t want to be here anymore. Like 70% of folks with CRPS, I thought about suicide.  I thought that even I can’t be such a horrible person to deserve this, right? I got cancer a second time. It’s not my fault, yet I felt punished for existing.

It is life-changing to now have humane treatments, where I never have to suffer. I never feel gaslighted, like I have to “suck it up.” I never cry out and feel the tears running into my ears, trying desperately not to move, silently screaming for it to stop. My partner, Matt, never hears me while sitting in the waiting room, screaming out in sudden and horrific pain. It could be a brief moment or several minutes. “You’re doing great, just a few more minutes.” I would hold my breath in an attempt to ease my pain, or at least hold in the screams. “You’re such a trooper; we’re almost there.” It’s up to me, right?

This was treatment eight years ago, about every six weeks. This was treatment for about four years of my life, before doing everything I could to buy my way into “experimental” treatment. There was no sedation or comfort meds unless you count injecting numbing agents prior to the 12-inch needle insertions, most often through my abdomen. Would you look, watching the needles, or would you lay back, close your eyes, and submit to what has been presented as the “only” treatment option?

[Warning: the following video contains a graphic medical images]