It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Fun*Run Time

It's ALREADY that time of year again: The ADAPT Fun*Run for Disability Rights is April 22nd 2012. Maryland's fundraising goal is $8,000 this year. Yes, that's right, $8,000

Donate $1! Donate $10! Donate $100! Donate $1,000! JUST DONATE so we can FREE OUR PEOPLE! I thank you very much for your support!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

SURVEY RESULTS: Disability & Prostitution

Here are the results of my poll. I know some of you were waiting on the edge of your seats. I got 30 responses over 6 days. 26 people were from the US, 2 people were from Canada, 1 person was from Austrailia, and 1 person's country is unknown. I need to go write the paper now. Did this first because I thought it would help me organize my thoughts.

Do you have a disability?

Yes: 20

No: 8

Are you for or against the legalization of prostitution (for everyone)?

For: 14

Against: 3

Undecided: 11

Have you/would you ever pay for a prostitute?

Yes: 6

No: 17

Maybe: 7

Do you have a moral objection to prostitution?

Yes: 4

No: 15

Who am I to say?: 11

If you could get government subsidized prostitution (reduced cost) would you partake in those services?

Yes: 4

No: 21

Maybe: 5

If the government would cover all costs of prostitution would you partake in those services?

Yes: 5

No: 21

Maybe: 4

It has been proprosed that the government of the Netherlands pay for prostitution for men with disabilities. I feel this is sexist. Do you?

Yes: 21

No: 6

Maybe: 3

Do you think that men or women with disabilities feel more sexually inadequate?

Men: 7

Women: 1

Both: 22


Why do you think that some disabled people feel that resorting to prostitution is their only option? (22 people answered)

Lack of social connections and the fact that this is a topic that is not widely discussed.

For many potential sexual partners, a disability seems like an immediate turn-off in that they look at the disability and see defect first. I believe that disability makes people confront their own mortality and that makes them uncomfortable, so the chance for a person with a disability to express themselves sexually is harder...

They feel insufficiently appealing to get sexual partners voluntarily. it might be too much work.

because able boddied people look apon me with pitty or as a Buddy but rarly as a Person with sexual needs

Resorting to prostitution as an only option is felt by the disabled for many of the same reasons as the able-bodied resort to prostitution; availability, low-to-no rejection rate, discretion, release, and finally, and maybe most importantly, feeling a bit of passion, warmth, sensuality...feeling like a real man or woman...

What could be done to change these views? (21 people answered)

Legalized prostitution services for the disabled seems to be the only way to change the situation for the disabled since you can't force women to be with men they don't find sexually attractive.

If you want crips to have a higher self-esteem and to feel sexier, then get the question to Madison Ave add companies and to Hollywood. It's all about marketing and messaging. Happy, confident people are just sexier...

Self help group, counseling, meeting other disabled individuals who changed their lives.


Disability education for the able. Exposure to disabled people. I love to answer questions from children, they're just curious. I will give rides in my power chair with their parent's permission.

If I knew I would do it!!

I think peoples views of disabled needs to change. Disabled people have the same sexual wants and needs as any able bodied person.

Old-fashioned, sexist, conservative views will never change, until this country catches up with, say, European views on sexuality, prostitution; and then maybe these views WILL change, for the better for all of us.

Is there anything else I forgot to address? Comment here. (12 people answered)

The proposed dutch law is sexist, but it is also discriminatory. There are plenty of able bodied people who find it difficult to form romantic relationships - why are only the disabled singled out for financial assistance.

I would separate those disabled from birth and those disabled in an accident in your study. Those disabled later in life generally have developed normal social skills which greatly help them in relations with other people, while the disabled since birth usually have been ostracized during their youth and also protected by their parents and thus have not had a very good chance to develop the proper social skills necessary to win friends and influence people.

To me, prostitution is just another form of social work. (that one cracked me up!)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I'm Thankful

Well, it isn't thursday, but I'll be too busy to post on "thankful thursday." Some people wonder why my blog posts are so personal, so raw, why I'd open up my heart to perfect strangers. This blog is sort of cathartic for me. It allows me to sort out all of the feelings in my head without feeling judged. There is a reason that I host this blog on Disaboom as opposed to somewhere else. There's a niche audience here, who often think and feel as I do. I've learned through becoming an active participant within the disability blogsphere how comforting it can be to have finally found "my people." This blog post is particularly raw. I questioned posting it, but I've decided that if I could help even one person to realize that they are not alone in their struggles then it is worth opening my heart this wide.

For the rest of my life Thanksgiving will bring forth a strong emotion from deep inside of me. It's right up there with October 10th. I think I've been bipolar since I was 15. approximately. I went around for 7 years knowing that there was something "wrong" (for lack of a better word) with my head but I couldn't get anyone to recognize the pain I felt being only partially diagnosed as "twice exceptional" (I guess being smart and having CP also counts? Maybe I'm "thrice exceptional"?). The strong emotion that I associate with this year's Thanksgiving has little to do with just being thankful, but more to do with my life at this time last November. I started a downward spiral last Oct 10. I didn't know that the antidepressant I had been prescribed 3 years earlier had been making me manic during the times I was actually taking it. Who knew antidepressants could make a person manic? It only took one dose to trip me off. Thankfully my quick change in mood raised the concern of both my previous and current shrinks and I was referred to a new psychiatrist who would be able to follow me while I'm up at school.

I certainly have some serendipitous timing. It turns that October 10th, the anniversary of when I decided to finally consistency start taking my medication-- quite by accident-- is world mental health day and Thanksgiving weekend is when I hit rock bottom. I had gone from complete mania to a severe depression in less then 2 months. I can remember pleading with my mom and her boyfriend to leave me behind at school while they traveled up to New Jersey to spend Thanksgiving with my family. It was too painful to do anything but sleep. I can remember spending up to a week between shrink appointments only leaving my room to go to kitchen to grab some food once a day and then crawling back into bed. The only other thing that got me out of bed was going to get my laptop to peruse the disability blogsphere (it was then that I decided to start this blog). Something happened last Thanksgiving weekend that set me on a horrible schedule of falling asleep at 5am and waking up at 3 in the afternoon. It was the Monday after Thanksgiving that I found someone to finally believe me that after all those years the pain that I was feeling had nothing to do with my family dynamics and that I wasn't just looking for attention or an excuse for my behavior. I got a prescription for mood stabilizers that day. They've changed my life.

As this year's Thanksgiving has been approaching I've found myself thinking about all of the changes in my life this past year. I knew my life was better, but it took remembering the struggle of getting me out of bed last Thanksgiving day to fully realize how far I have come. So this Thanksgiving I am thankful.

I am thankful:

  • For the disability blogsphere and all of the people I have been able to connect with over this past year
  • For the ability to do simple things such as change my clothes everyday and take out the trash.
  • That this semester I am passing all of my classes. I've had to make some changes that haven't been easy, but they've been worth it. I am especially thankful that I am not only passing my community services for families class this time around, but that I have an 88. It's a tough class for anyone and even tougher when you're "thrice exceptional".
  • That through only 3 degrees of separation I was able to meet 2 very special people in my life (they know who they are) who have allowed me to almost completely shed my negitive self-concept and fully embrace my inner crip. They're my biggest cheerleaders
  • That I've learned to focus on how far I've come and that now when I list my attributes I can list not just the negatives but also the positives
  • That there are other people who also recognize how far I've come
  • That as of Saturday, after 3 weeks of a non-functional powerchair, it is now in top working order again

I'm running out of time, I have to make an appointment, but I'm sure within the next few days I will be coming back to edit this list.

Last spring I heard about a book on the radio. Not Quite What I was Planning: Six-Word Memiors by Writers Famous and Obscure (Disaboom's very own Karen Putz made the book!). It was pretty easy to come up with my own six word memoir-- Always trying but never quite there. In the span of only 7 months I can now change my memoir. Always trying and I'm almost there. Please share what you are thankful for this year. I'd love to hear.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Help me with a Paper: Survey on Disability & Prostitution

*EDIT: SURVEY IS CLOSED* Thank you if you have already responded.

For my human sexuality course this semester we have to write a paper on a contriversial topic having to do with sex. For my paper I'm choosing to focus on the legalization of prostitution for men with disabilities. For my personal view on the topic view my post from July. What's cool is that we need six sources for our paper, but they do not have to be "academic". I can use blog posts and newspaper articles! I've decided to poll my readership on the topic as one of my sources. I was just over at Micro Preemie Twins and noticed that Billie posted a poll using Poll Daddy. Cool! Great timing! Unfortunately, as I created a survey as opposed to a poll, I cannot figure out how to embed it into this post. Can anyone help? They say that you can put in code to make the survey appear as a javascript popup. HELP! In the mean time, here is the direct link to the poll:

Here are the "rules" for a lack of a better word:

  1. Your responses will be kept strictly confidential. I do not ask for identifying information ANYWHERE and you are identified only by a number, such as 1819175.
  2. For the first 7 questions I will only be using precentages in my paper, and I may use one or two of the responses to other 3 questions. Or maybe not. I'll see.
  3. I will be posting the precentages on another post here on Disaboom for curiosity's sake, but again, NO IDENTIFYING INFORMATION WILL BE USED. See #1. I don't have any.
  4. The paper is due on December 1. The survey will not take answers after December 1. But please be kind and answer the survey in enough time to include the results in my paper. Sorry I posted so late!
  5. I really prefer that you answer the survey via Poll Daddy. It just makes things easier on me. BUT I'm not sure if Poll Daddy works with screen readers or not. If you are visually impaired, please PM me here on Disaboom. Here are the questions for you:

  1. Do you have a disability?
    • Yes
    • No
  2. Are you for or against the legalization of prostitution (for everyone)?
    • For
    • Against
    • Undecided
  3. Have you/would you ever pay for a prostitute?
    • Yes
    • No
    • Maybe
  4. Do you have a moral objection to prostitution?
    • Yes
    • No
    • Who am I to say
  5. If you could get government subsidized prostitution (reduced cost) would you partake in those services?
    • Yes
    • No
    • Maybe
  6. If the government would cover all costs of prostitution would you partake in those services?
    • Yes
    • No
    • Maybe
  7. It has been proprosed that the government of the Netherlands pay for prostitution for men with disabilities. I feel this is sexist. Do you?
    • Yes
    • No
    • Not Sure
  8. Do you think that men or women with disabilities feel more sexually inadequate?
    • Men
    • Women
    • Both
  9. Why do you think that some disabled people feel that resorting to prostitution is their only option?
  10. What could be done to change these views?
  11. Is there anything else I forgot to address? Comment here.
Thanks so much for helping me out!
Here are my other sources if you are curious:
The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability (GREAT book! HIGHLY reccomend it!)
What I really want is to get blog posts on the topic. Do you know of any other crips that have addressed the issue on their blogs? Please post the URL in the comments section. Thanks!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bennett Blazers Powersoccer FYI

It's been awhile since I posted a tiny bit of info for some locals.

I love reading Blake's stuff over at "In case of fire, use the elevator. Quickly." ROFLMAO Blake introduced me to the sport of powersoccer. It looks like you don't have to have any upper body strength and very little coordination to play. That's right up my alley. I did a little google searching. It was a little tricky, but I found out that there is a Baltimore area team! The Bennett Blazers. It's run out of a division of Kennedy Krieger. I enquired about the team, but the timing was bad. I'm hoping to join in Feb. I just got an email from the guy in charge that there is an event that some locals may want to check out.

"We have a Division I team with a roster of 6 players currently. We are hosting a tournament with 3 other teams on December 6 and 7th at our facility in Baltimore if you want to check us out."

Just a little FYI. Maybe some Disaboomers want to come check them out with me? Shoot me a PM if you're interested. And thanks Blake for getting me all fired up.

Monday, November 17, 2008

I Am...

















A writer

A student

An artist

A friend

A daughter

A woman

An uppity intellectual activist crip


To participate in next weeks disability blog carnival, go over to the blog carnival page.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Mental Illness: Illness or Chronic Condition?

Reflections from the AUCD Conference: Post 1

I was lucky to get the chance to do a poster presentation yesterday (along w/faculty) at the Association of University Centers on Disability's annual conference. I'VE GOT MY MOJO BACK NOW! I'm currently working on several blog posts in my head at the moment, all revolving around my reflections from attending the conference for a day. I learned A LOT in a few hours, met some interesting people, and even had the opportunity to inadvertently further educate the faculty I was with on disability etiquette and disability culture issues.

The conference had a screening of the documentary Including Samuel, with a Q&A with the director (Sam's dad) afterwards. The film was GREAT! I LOVED IT! It presented the issue of community inclusion from a disability rights standpoint, focusing on Samuel (obviously) who has CP, but also on a few others.

One thing in particular that stuck in my mind thoughwas a teen (early 20-something?) w/schizophrenia. They talked about the time she attempted suicide and then something was said about the issue of not if she would relapse, but rather when. Someone said something 'when she was sick' or 'when she gets sick again' or something, but the word SICK was there and it got burned in my head.

I have a "mental illness" I guess, but I'M NOT SICK! I don't have the flu. I'm the healthiest person I know! The wide use of the word 'sick' had been a pet-peeve of mine for years, starting from when my mom was diagnosed with cancer. She doesn't have the flu either. Cancer isn't anything at all like having the flu, although maybe I can concede that it has a closer correlation then schizophrenia.

When I google-imaged illness I got a picture of a boy wrapped in a blanket with a thermometer in his mouth and an ice-pack on his head (in an attempt to bring down his fever I guess). Does that give a clear picture of 'mental illness?'

At some point I adopted the term 'chronic condition' in relation to my mom. I've decided that CP is also a chronic condition, and bipolar is too I guess. Merriam-Webster says that chronic means "marked by long duration or frequent recurrence." Illness means "an unhealthy condition of body or mind." One definition of sick is "affected with disease or ill health." Another is "mentally or emotionally unsound or disordered." Health means "the condition of being sound in body, mind, or spirit."

There is a mental health crisis in the world. There is this gigantic stigma looming over everyone. People who could be helped tremendously by psychotherapy won't go. At best they may get their primary care physician to write a prescription that should be managed more closely by a psychiatrist. Efforts to reduce this stigma aren't going to work if we keep referring to a large group of conditions as mental illnesses. Is there something wrong with me because I'm bipolar? Because when you call it an illness and tell me I'm sick, that's what you imply. There is a lot to be said for the use and placement of positive and negative words. Look at the definitions above. Healthy equates to good. Good people are healthy. But someone who is plagued by a horrible illness is a bad person. Just look at how I framed that last sentence. Is anyone ever plagued by healthiness? Where in this are we helping people feel comfortable seeking out appropriate treatment? We're not. We're pushing them further and further away, simply by placing an emphasis on one word. Simply telling them they're ILL.

Also, by telling someone that they are sick it implies that they will get better. That isn't the case for a lot of people. Someone at the conference who is a big autism advocate mentioned how there are parents of autistic children that think that they will grow out of it. They think that autistic adults fighting for rights are faking it to try to get attention and take money away from their children. The same can be said for ADHD. Commercials for both pharmaceuticals and general awareness often use the term 'adult ADHD.' I have news for you: There isn't a difference. ADHD is the same in children and adults. Somehow people think it is better to lead people to believe that ADHD in adulthood is a completely different condition then to burst people's bubble that their child will grow out of it.

[picture discription: Van Gogh's Starry Night]

Chronic refers to something that plans on sticking around for a long time (if not forever). Schizophrenia, bipolar, ADHD, they don't just go away. Treatment is important to help someone to work with their diagnosis instead of against it, but treatment will not cure people who have these diagnoses. The word chronic has a much more neutral connotation then healthy, ill, and sick. To some a diagnosis of a chronic condition (mental or otherwise) might be the worst most dire thing that has ever happened in their life. To others it is a huge relief, a weight off their shoulders. Some may embrace their chronic condition. To them it may represent a badge of honor. It may become a huge source of pride. Others will always be ashamed and embarrassed of their condition. Labeling what they have as a chronic condition, as opposed to an illness, allows them to attach their own personal feelings to their diagnosis, instead of having feelings placed upon them. Let people feel good about having a few screws loose in their head. There's nothing wrong with that. Teach them that there are positives to their condition. There have been some very famous people who were never the perfect picture of mental health. Then maybe people won't be afraid to seek out treatment.

Monday, November 3, 2008

My List of Reasons I don't Blog Anymore

For Blake's edition of the Disability Blog Carnival:

1. I decided school is more important then blogging

2. Very few bloggable things have happened in the last few months

3. I don’t seem to have the concentration to blog anymore (if you haven’t noticed, my posts tend to be long)

4. I like sleep

5. I’m trying to spend less time online

6. My life seems to be revolving around people, as opposed to more abstract things like disability culture, and I don’t think those people want to be blogged about, as much as I’d like to blog about them.

Why I’m Sad I Don’t Blog Anymore

1. I like the connection with other uppity activist crips and the feeling of community

2. I think it would improve my mood w/o hurting as much as the gym did Thursday

3. I think it would help me to deal with said people mentioned above

4. I know people want to read my stuff and I want to write for them

5. I’d rather waste time blogging then waste time the way I have been lately

Can someone please tell me how to get my mojo back?

[picture description: cartoon of a computer monitor, keyboard, and mouse, all with faces. Monitor says to man: “We’ve been talking… and we all think it’s time you updated your blog]

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