Some background for two papers I have in the works. The first is on the medicalization of childhood in the contemporary U.S. The second, mother-blaming. Stay tuned.
Symptoms of Possible Disorders in Children:
Appears to be shy
Likes to play by oneself
Prefers puzzles or televisions to stories
Spins in circles
Likes playing with trains or cars
Doesn’t like loud sounds
Does not always respond when name called
Does not always follow instructions
Needs to have instructions repeated
Trouble staying organized
Blurts out answers in class
Guesses when asked to solve a problem
On the go
Butts in on others’ conversations or games
If infant, has trouble falling or staying asleep
Difficulty expressing oneself if nervous or anxious
Dislikes brushing teeth
Bad at sports
Dislikes tags on clothing
Prefers one-on-one play to groups
Strategies to Reduce the Risk of Various Childhood Disorders:
Don’t smoke in the house
Don’t have an underweight baby
Don’t have a preterm birth
Don’t have a baby who has to stay in the NICU
Don’t have a baby who needs oxygen
Don’t drink or use drugs while pregnant
Read to your child
Talk to your child
Don’t abuse your child physically or emotionally
Buy organic mattresses
Don’t eat fish while pregnant
Eat lots of fish while pregnant
Sleep with your infant
Make sure our infant sleeps alone
Give your child ample time to develop at her own pace
Utilize early intervention services (ages 0-3)
Ensure ears are clear, get tubes if necessary
Do not expose to anesthesia, a potential cause of learning disabilities
Listen to your pediatrician
Ignore your pediatrician, use specialists instead
Depending on the disorder, consider altering the race/gender/class status of child and parents
Confession time: I’ve been unable to write for the last two months. It’s been a time of side projects and talks, plus lots on the personal end, but in terms of disability writing I’ve done virtually nothing. What I did complete was somehow deleted by Scrivener, which, in my writer’s block haze, I took as an obvious sign that I shouldn’t be writing. So I took a break.
After spending over a year doing continuous research, I found myself frozen in a state of paranoid introspection. Why was I doing this at all? Why dredge up my own memories of rare and undiagnosed disability in the family? What if people found out that my sister and I have grown sadly distant – that I live hundreds of miles away and, within the parameters of her abilities, I do the best that I can but have a nagging awareness that our modern relationship fails her? Would I have to face my own terror about what will happen in the future, when my parents can no longer help with my sister, when she finds herself in a city with no kin and few personal connections (somehow, after 30 years), and here I am in one of the absolute worst states in the nation for adults with disabilities? Continue reading
Politics and Current Events
“Disability Advocates Fight Disabled Governor” (NPR’s Here and Now)
Austin-based disability rights activist Bob Kafka reflects on Governor Greg Abbott, the first U.S. governor since George Wallace to use a wheelchair in office.
“Execution of Warren Hill ‘Shakes the Foundation of our Legal System for People with Intellectual Disabilities” (The Arc)
On January 27, the state of Georgia executed Warren Hill, a convicted murderer known to have a lifelong intellectual disability. Despite past Supreme Court rulings that the death penalty is unlawful for individuals with intellectual disabilities, only Justices Sotomayor and Breyer voted for a stay of execution. This is truly a shocking story. Continue reading
Your weekly dose of disability news coverage, commentary and debates. Enjoy!
Disability and Health Disparities
“Hypertension More Prevalent in Individuals with IDD” (The Arc)
“Race and Health Disparities in Adults With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Living in the United States,” Haleigh M. Scott and Susan M. Havercamp (Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities)
Vaccines and Infectious Disease
“When Measles Spreads From Disneyland, It’s a Small World After All,” by Rachel Rabkin Peachman (NYT Motherlode) Continue reading
In case you missed it…announcing the Disability Fieldnotes weekly feature! Sign up here to receive an email each Friday with a short list of the disability-related news stories that I found most captivating, curious, or controversial from that week. As with content I post on Twitter, retweets ≠ endorsements. I do not necessarily agree with the articles included in Disability Fieldnotes. I do, however, think that they are important.
Whether your connection to disability is academic, personal, or professional, I hope that Disability Fieldnotes will be a fantastic resource. Weekly news highlights will include such diverse themes as genetics, bioethics, caregiving, special events, policy, and cutting-edge research. Read the stories right away or file them for later perusal. Share them with colleagues and friends, cite them in your research, mention them in meetings and presentations. Just use them. Spread the word, raise awareness, and help promote increased knowledge and understanding of disability issues in the U.S. and elsewhere.
Questions or suggestions? Drop me a line at emlewis [at] gmail [dot] com. Looking for a more extensive list of disability news? Then check out my Twitter feed (@lizlewisanthro), which I use as a continuously updating archive of disability stories in the media.
Here is the first weekly installment of this curated news series. Enjoy and please share widely!
”Measles Makes an Unwelcome Visit to Disneyland” (NPR)
“Anti-Vaxxers are Idolizing the Amish, Inexplicably” (Atlantic Monthly)
“U.S. Court Upholds NY State Vaccination Requirement for Students” (Reuters)
Caregiving and Parenting
“‘Home is a Medicine Unto Itself'” (Atlantic Monthly)
“Parenting on the Dark Side” (NYT)
“My Son is Black and has Autism, and I’m Terrified” (Today.com)
“Parents of Autistic Children Say Shooting Hits Home” (KVUE.com)
“Family Remembers Man Killed by Homeowner as ‘Gentle Giant'” (KXAN.com)
“CDC Stepping Up Autism Monitoring Efforts” (Disability Scoop)
“Recalling Blind Tom: An Autistic Pianist Born to Slavery” (NYT)
“Mat Fraser: ‘Someone Had the Balls to Make a Drama Starring Freaks'” (The Guardian)
“The New Abnormal: The Carnival Logic of American Horror Story” (New Yorker – from December, but a good read)
I’m thrilled to announce a new feature for Disability Fieldnotes highlighting each week’s most interesting, important, or perhaps controversial disability-related news stories. Subscribers will receive a single email (no more, no less!) each week containing links to these curated stories, picked from my otherwise endless search for disability in the media. The Disability Fieldnotes digest will be an excellent way to catch up on a small number of stories you might have missed, to stay abreast of pressing issues and upcoming events, and (for the researchers out there) to maintain an ongoing record of relevant news throughout the year.
Would you believe that the slots for StoryCorps interviews were filled in three minutes during last month’s registration? Wow!
Here’s so good news: due to unambiguous demand, StoryCorps has opened up additional interview times. People can sign up here Wednesday, January 7th at 10:00 a.m. Be warned, however, that these will likely go just as quickly as last time.
If you live in the Austin area and have a disability story to tell, please consider signing up!
Storycorps is coming to Austin in January, but this year there’s a twist. Storycorps is a nonprofit organization best known for its relationship with NPR, which often features segments of interviews. This year, Storycorps formed a community partnership with the Disability Visibility Project, a fantastic initiative that encourages people with disabilities and others in the community to share their stories via Storycorps in order to create a more robust and accessible archive of disability history.
It’s easy to participate and is an incredibly way to get your story out there. All interviews are housed at the Library of Congress, literally creating a time capsule for future generations. Certain interviews are also featured on NPR and its website, or on the Storycorps website.
In order to participate, you just need to register for a time slot. Registration opens up at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, December 22. You can sign up here or call this number: 1-800-850-4406.
I have tried to promote this opportunity via social media and I really hope that people in the Austin area will come out to share their stories about personal or family experiences with disability. I’ll definitely be signing up. Please consider doing the same!