« May 2006 | Main | October 2006 »

June 07, 2006

Summer Break

It's summer break time for me! Look for new Edge-Centric entries again in the fall.

Meanwhile, there are plenty of blogs around to give you a daily fix of crip culture. Check out the Disability Studies, Temple U.: Disability Blogs Roundup, #10 for a great overview -- there's lot's o' bloggin' going on!

Have a great summer yourselves.

Posted by mjohnson at 07:46 AM | Comments (0)

June 05, 2006

Cure or kill, recovery or death

The issue of "recovery" seems to be driving public discussion about disability as never before.

I'd been waiting for some sort of national fallout from the DeGroot and McCarron murders. I'd been urging a reporter for a national news outlet to do a story, but hadn't gotten much anywhere. You know: it's old news now.

So this morning I see in my New York Times the op-ed article Autism's Parent Trap:

"If you commit all your time, your money, your family's life, recovery is possible. And who wouldn't do almost anything — mortgage a home, abandon a career or move to be closer to doctors or schools — to enable an autistic child to lead a normal life?"

"Here we go," I think.

Turns out, though, that Cammie McGovern (identified as the author of "Eye Contact," a novel, and who has an autistic son) is trying to debunk the recovery grail.

"To aim for full recovery — for the person your child might have been without autism — is to enter a dangerous emotional landscape," she writes.

I think folks with autism would have put it quite differently, and more forcefully -- take a look at any of the blogs that make up the Autism Hub (I especially recommend ballastexistenz). But I'll take McGovern's article. For the New York Times, it's probably as forceful a statement that will get printed.

I'd like to see on the Times's op-ed page some of the points made in the article by Dick Sobsey over on the Not Dead Yet site. Parents kill their nondisabled children, too, he points out, and parents who kill their disabled children are more like those parents than not. Both need help -- mental health help, he says.

Reinforcing the notion that parents are driven to killing their children (and sometimes themselves) by the lack of services is almost certain to do more harm than good. For people who are getting close to the edge of doing violence to themselves and others, certifying their thinking as rational and their behavior as justifiable increases the probability that they will go over the edge.

He adds,

When we say, "look what this poor parent was driven to do by the system and if things don't get better more of us parents may just do the same thing," we are holding our children hostages. We are collectively threatening to harm them if society doesn't take a little better care of us. (read article).

What I'd really like to see on the Times's op-ed page is an article examining how the "cannot recover" excuse is used to justify "removal of life support" and now, murder, which, seems to me, is a growing trend, or maybe simply one that's more and more coming out from under the covers. I've written about "won't recover" before -- here and here and here and here.

The new X-Men movie -- atrocious in a lot of ways, writes Robert McRuer on Ragged Edge Online -- gets at the "cannot recover" idea directly. On the big screen, it's "cure or kill." We get "mutant crowds (and their supporters) outside the pharmaceutical company, on one side of the street, yelling "no cure! no cure!" and mutant crowds, on the other side of the street, lining up for the injection," writes McRuer.

The disability rights culture wonks are grooving on "The Last Stand." But I'm almost afraid to ask: do most movie-goers see the Mutants' fight against cure as simply a kind of joke? After all, it's a comic. Right?

Posted by mjohnson at 11:18 AM | Comments (3)