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Crippen's introduction to the world of Asperger's Syndrome / 1 August 2009

I've started to create cartoons based upon people who have Autism and Asperger's Syndrome. This has mainly been due to the contacts that I've been making through Facebook and the new networks of Disabled people that I'm 'meeting' through this facility.

It's a difficult area to work in I'm discovering, as the various people involved in this area of impairment tend to have different points of view regarding their position in the Disabled people's movement ... or not! Obviously, those contacts I'm making from the States and other areas outside of the UK tend not to use the Social Model understanding of disability and therefore don't see themselves as being Disabled people (people Disabled by the barriers that exist within our Society). They don't relate to being described as Disabled people and especially not people who are Learning disabled.

Equally though, some people in the UK with Autism, Aspergers, etc., don't relate to the disability side of their impairments whilst still arguing that it is Society that creates the problem and not the way in which they function (so not a million miles from the Social Model understanding).

I originally created this cartoon for someone over in New Zealand and ended up having to cut out the reference to disability in the cartoon (I changed the punchline to "... doesn't he have an off button?"). I think perhaps the cartoon works better for those of us within the movement who are challenging the way in which some fellow Crips see themselves as being exclusively 'physically' impaired and therefore 'proper' Disabled people!

Hopefully this will highlight the issue that only by being inclusive, and understanding that barriers are more than the physical ones that we encounter everyday, will we attract people to the movement who can bring with them the creativity and 'out of the box' thinking that we need in order to survive.

Here are some links that might interest you.


Keywords: disabled people's movement,learning disability,politics,



31 August 2009

Thanks for your comments folks. And it's good to hear from across the pond from Sanda


4 August 2009

PS (I have often referred to CFS/ME as the PS disease - related to short term memory...)

I am about 98% homebound. In my trips outside my apartment, I must use a wheelchair, pushed by "carer" (spouse). Use

of a wheelchair "helps" people to "see

disability". There was much written in the 1980s about people in the US with "invisible

disabilities" who were not taken seriously as being disabled.


4 August 2009

It's taken me awhile to find your newer cartoons via my bookmark list - my own cognitive glitches and newness online due to

CFS/ME. I'm putting a comment for this cartoon and the one about canaries.

I've been networking for 24years with professional artists who are disabled, primarily in the US. (I have an epal in

England, with severe ME.)

(I like the cartoons, before I forget to say so.)

Over the years, I have met, via post mail, people who do not want to consider themselves disabled, who have either my

same disabilities (CFS/ME and allergic asthma) or other conditions that would qualify under the ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act). I respect people's choices. Since I was welcomed into the disability community - particularly Disabled in Action long before I had a diagnosis, homebound, I identify with the entire disability community.

It makes sense from a political standpoint to have groups that umbrella all disability categories, as well as those who want to work within one area, their own condition. It helps to get it out of the "medical" arena. (This concept was made clear by "Disability Rag" a periodical now "morphed" into the online "Ragged Edge".)

On "canary in the mines": In the 1970s, this was used by people with sensitivities to chemicals (calling themselves MCS multiple chemical sensitivities) and those of us with

allergies/asthma. It's obvious: we react first.

Dave Everitt

1 August 2009

Having used a generous portion of my own OCD on the code behind the early versions of the DAO website while sometimes feeling I'd crashed the party - even after having been informed "it's obvious you're disabled" (when I thought it wasn't!) - I appreciate this... and BTW it's great to see you on the almost-unavoidable Facebook :-)

Judie McConway

1 August 2009

I was lucky enough, some years ago to enrol on a course run by an Educational Psychologist entitled "Dyslexia to Autism - a Continuum" Which argued that we all fit somewhere on this. We looked as all the disabilities on that continuum. My main reason for enrolling, is that my youngest son is 'extremely' dyslexic. Now that is a hidden disability that is barely recognised at all. My son's IQ was assessed as 'superior intelligence' by a top child psycholigist, yet his reading age (now at the age of 27) hovers around 7/8 years. Every time he is assessed by anyone, most recently by the agency that decides what electronic devices would help him at University, they all come back with something along the lines of "I have been doing this job for years, and have to say that your son is one of the worst I have had to assess" School was a daily torture for him - he was put into the lowest sets of troublemakers, etc. Life is difficult, e.g. the time as a young teenager he asked a station worker in Leeds where to get the train to Edinburgh (where we were waiting to meet him) whether accidental or not on the part of the workder, my son ended up on

a train that went on a circular route and ended up back in Leeds. He cannot follow directions, cannot read a recipe, has memory problems that mean he forgets to turn the oven off if he puts a pizza in. Help at Uni is usually a note taker (he can't read the notes) and at school and uni, they can't seem to get to grips with the idea of homework - how can a person who can't read, do the research to enable them to do the project. I could go on and on - I remember him as a child asking for directions in a shop, only to receive the reply "can't you read?" and him answering "no, I'm dyslexic". He got fined for showing a friend onto a station where he was meant to have a ticket himself for being on the platform, but couldn't read the signs. I could go on and on, but the one thing that almost broke my heart was when I was trying to tell him aged 15 to steer clear of one friend who was heavily into drugs, and said to him "We can all make choices in life" his reply was, "what choices was I given, I was born dyslexic" I tried to put this in context from my point of view and said, "there are people who are a lot worse than you, physically disabled" his reply, "I would willingly give up an arm or a leg, if I could just read one book" A horrible disability that is barely recognised as one - it took 3 years to win the various appeals to get him D.L.A. but since reading is not classified as a brain function (?!?) he can't get more than the lowest components in mobility and care.