Autism and the Complication of the Disability/Impairment Binary

Autistic Academic

One of the “main ideas” in disability studies is the concept that “disability,” or marginalization in the social sphere, is distinct from “impairment,” or medical limitations.  “Disability” becomes the category for things that prevent differently-bodied/differently-brained people from participating in “normal” society, like a lack of curb cuts or intolerance for alternative communication styles like typing or sign language – things that are understood to be changeable (and thus to be the fault of society for not changing).  “Impairment,” by contrast, typically describes the underlying body/brain difference that makes the disability relevant, like lower-limb paralysis (thus a need for curb cuts) or deafness (thus a need for communication alternatives to spoken/heard language).

A lot of critics and activists like this distinction.  It allows them to advocate for changes without tangling with messy ideas, like challenging our cultural 1:1 correlation between body/brain function and economic value.  Getting a curb cut installed feels…

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Poor Family


The family of these 3 boys who come to our school live in a very pathetic condition. I have never heard their story in the way I was able to hear it today. Their mother Roselyne Nambuye born 1977 has a total of 9 children and she is expecting again the 10th child. Apart from her 2 elder children who also have children all the others plus one grand-child live in the same 10 x 10 ft room.

The poor lady is completely illiterate. According to her, their father died when they were very young and so they were unable to go to school. She then was forced to get married at an early age but her first husband who is the father to her 6 elder children molested her and send her packing before she fled from her rural home to come in the city to look for a…

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Broken Light: A Photography Collective


Please welcome first-time contributor James, a long-term sufferer of mental illness from London who was recently diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. James believes in the power of talking and that it’s linked with bringing awareness and healing to the sufferer. He is open about his dealings with mental illness and tries to subtly carry this visual into his work. He is a creative person and dipped his toes into many facets including music, film and creative writing before settling into photography. James is a plumber by day who lives with his wife, daughter, cat & dog.

About this photo: “This image is from a recent photoshoot I did entitled ‘Disconnect’.
I wanted to bring to life how I feel every day; disconnected from humanity and at times afraid of people and wanting to be left alone. But also the intrigue and desire to be included in society, even though my…

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Living well in the technosocial world – a review of Shannon Vallor’s Technology and the Virtues


When new technologies are unveiled the conversation is usually dominated by excited comments regarding all of the things for which these newfangled devices or platforms will be good. This new smartphone will be better for taking pictures than any phone to have come before it, this social media platform will make it even easier to share things with your friends and family, this Internet of Things home assistant will make it a snap to order groceries, and the list goes on. New technologies invite would be users to think of what those devices will do for them, but rarely ask the same users to consider what those devices will do to them. Yet, what is often missing from the discussion of all of the ways in which a given technology is good, is a serious consideration of the ways in which this technology impacts our conception of the good.


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Only The Sun Can Paint The Water

Broken Light: A Photography Collective


Photo taken by contributor Kyle Anderson, a man from Saskatchewan, Canada. Kyle has struggled with an anxiety disorder for most of his life. After a traumatic accident ended his career in health care, his life became unmanageable and he sought out the help that he so desperately needed. As a longtime photographer, when he found Broken Light Collective in an article it instantly resonated. He now runs a photography program at his local mental health association. He has since become a certified mental health peer specialist and advocate. He also writes local editorial and uses his platform to help erase the stigma of mental illness in his community.

About this photo: “There’s been so many changes for me, both good and bad, that it can be hard to take a breath. Let alone actually comprehend it all. In looking for something that captures what I feel, I keep coming back to…

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Gold in the Mountains

Broken Light: A Photography Collective

Mountain Gold_3480433766_l

Photo taken by contributor Don, a man in his fifties from the Western North Carolina Mountains. Throughout his teens and twenties spikes of grandeur, depression, and anxiety were the norm, although back then no one used those terms, at least not in his small town. He struggled throughout his twenties. Don continued to be plagued by episodes of mania and depression, until one day in his early thirties it all came crashing down. His anxiety turned to severe panic attacks. Fear and paranoia consumed him. It would take years to get a concrete diagnosis. Ultimately, after a full three-day medical work up at a military hospital in DC, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, general and social anxiety, and ADHD. It was around that time when he picked up the camera he had laid down some years back, and began to shoot again. He liked being behind the camera’s lens. He felt safe there…

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Lamb’s hearts — a tasty, affordable alternative to stir-fried steak

Churchmouse Campanologist

Churchmouse Altarmousefinal copyEating animal hearts are not something we Westerners do much of nowadays.

Yet, there was a time when organ meats — called variety meats or offal, collectively — provided basic nutrients and protein for the poor and working classes. The offal tradition has been revived in Britain over the past few years, thanks to traditional cookery shows on television; our butcher has been surprised by his customers’ increasing requests for hearts, liver and kidneys.

You can prepare heart in one of two ways. You can boil it to death or you can stir-fry it. Those who favour low and slow cooking need to be adept at getting heart just right, because it can turn out tough and muscular. Another downside is that this type of cooking uses a lot of gas or electric, highly expensive these days.

On the other hand, stir-frying heart presents a quick, healthful, tender —…

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