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Opinion Pieces

Us people across the disability spectrum have a lot of opinions! Here are a smattering….

Fuck You, Oscars, Choosing an Octopus over the Disability Civil Rights Movement

they chose an octopus over the disability rights movement

The Gift of a Moment: Understanding Difficult Times and Choices

This is an opinion post about recognizing and leaning into moments that can transform us, specifically, moments related to disability acceptance. If you want to hear me reading this, just click the link below. Play in new window | Download When I first started my job at UC Berkeley, coordinating a program in conjunction [...]

How to Grow Your Disability Pride

Striving to be non-disabled negates the value of disability pride & the gifts disability brings. But self-acceptance can be hard in an ableist world.

The Gift of Harry Styles and Gen Z Neuro-Flexibility

This is an opinion post about the joy of Harry Styles, and the neuro-flexibility that the gen z generation seem to have. This post was originally written as "millennial" but then I realized that I was actually talking about Generation Z, not millennials! I fell in love with Harry Styles when I watched his video [...]

Are The CDC Guidelines for Schools Reopening Too Much?

This is about the CDC guidelines for schools. It's available in distraction-free (- no ads) PDF for my patrons, linked here. It's also at the end of this post for people who benefit from access to PDF'. If you want to hear me reading this, just click the link below. Play in new window | Download [...]

It’s Like We Are in Time Out

This is a personal post. It's available in distraction-free (- no ads) PDF for my patrons, linked here. It's also at the end of this post for people who benefit from access to PDF'. If you want to hear me reading this, just click the link below. Play in new window | Download My Facebook feed [...]

Culture, Disability and a Game Called Barnga

This is about culture, disability, and a game called Barnga. There is a free PDF of this essay to download if you'd like to read this without distractions.You can find it at the bottom of this page. I read this essay in my "podcast" which is also available at the end of this page. My [...]

Repeat After Me: “Disability Does Not Mean Inability!”

This is about the reality of living with a disability. This essay is available via PDF and MP3 (with me reading it) on my Patreon site (linked here). Alternatively, you can find it at the end of this post. It drives me crazy when people say stuff like, "people of all abilities," because they are [...]

This is YOUR DISABILITY STORY: What Do You Want it To Say?

This is a post about personal development, essentially. It is available via PDF and MP3 (with me reading it) on my Patreon site (linked here). Alternatively, you can find it at the end of this post. I woke up feeling kind of crappy. My body felt old, I feel like I never have enough energy [...]

Repeat After Me: “I Am Not a Special Needs Mom!”

This is about being a "special needs parent" or a "special needs mom" and how and why that term is all wrong. My previous post on "I am Not a Special Needs Mom" is linked at the end of this post. Special Needs Moms "Special Needs Mom" is a term that is used by moms [...]

How Can a Parent Get Ahead When School is Always Out?

This is about the American school system and it's fundamental differences with working hours and higher ed. The American school system is fundamentally out of synch with the working hours that parents keep. It's even out of synch with higher education calendars. I noticed this of course in California, but this has slapped me in [...]

Micah’s Autism Assessment in Hawaii: An Update

This is about getting an Autism Assessment - an assessment of where a child might be on the Autism Spectrum. It is available in distraction-free PDF and through my podcast (both linked at the end of the post). While I am confident that my oldest child, Micah, is somewhere on the Autism Spectrum, I don't [...]

The Gilmore Girls and The Lens of Time

My friend Maegan got me hooked on the Gilmore Girls. It's honestly pretty incredible that I somehow went through the 00's and never watched it. Like, NEVER. Never, ever, ever. There are two reasons why I never watched it: The spacing between Lauren Graham's nose and mouth bothered me I didn't like the font used [...]

That Teacher Carrying a Wheelchair Using Student

This is a post about the viral story of a teacher carrying a wheelchair using student on a school field trip. Updated 9/27 to include additional thoughts, and a note from the child's mom at the end of the post. Jim Freeman, a teacher at Tully Elementary School in Kentucky, recently carried a wheelchair-using student, Ryan [...]

Greta Thunberg and the Gift of Autism

This is a post about Greta Thunberg and the gift of Autism, the power of neurodiversity. Greta Thunberg is a 16 year old Swedish activist who is on the Autism spectrum. She is one of the powerful young leaders who recently addressed the United States Congress and the United Nations about climate change, demanding action: [...]

Square Pegs in a Round Peg World: The Power of the Neurodiverse

This is about the value and power of neuro-diversity, with Down syndrome and Asperger's being used as examples. This is available for free in PDF form and through my podcast, both linked at the end of this post. To receive a PDF bundle of each month's blog posts from me, connect with my Patreon. A [...]

What People First Language Is (& Why and When It’s WRONG)

This is an essay about People First Language, explaining what it is, how it came to be, and how it has evolved. There is an MP3 from my new podcast of me reading this post - scroll to the bottom for it. There is also a distraction-free PDF of this essay for you to download [...]

Disability Hierarchy is Real and It’s Holding Us Back

This is a post about disability hierarchy: what it is and what to do about it. I have this post available to you in distraction-free pdf as well as an mp3 of me reading this post. Click the link below if you want either and you can download it there for free. Download the PDF [...]

What You Really Mean When You Say “All Abilities”

These are things that I see while reading around the internet - "Playgrounds can often be an overwhelming and stressful place for kids with special needs, so Donna opened a sensory gym that caters to children of all abilities!""The determination to see past what you can’t do and focus on each individual’s capacity to achieve [...]

Cutting Special Olympics is a Smoke Screen: Here’s Where the Real Issues Are

Secretary of Education (and champion of no education) Betsy DeVos is proposing to completely eliminate all $18 million of government funding for Special Olympics and then pump $60 million into Charter schools. At the same time, the Trump administration is trying to completely eliminate the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") and slash Social Security. This affects [...]

About that Late Term Abortion Story…

In a recent viral story, a woman who had a late term abortion talks about why it made sense to her to abort her baby (the links are at the bottom of this post). It seemed to me to be an uninformed choice being passed off as a kind, sound decision, and that rubbed me [...]

Do You Want to Help the Disabled or Less Fortunate? Read These Tips First!

While I was in church a while ago, there was a call for money to help poor people in "3rd world countries," people who were not so fortunate as to "live the American dream." This echoed a call in my kid's school for small things to put into a shoebox and have shipped to a [...]

Telling, a Poem by Laura Hershey

What you risk telling your story: You will bore them. Your voice will break, your ink spill and stain your coat. No one will understand, their eyes become fences. You will park yourself forever on the outside, your differentness once and for all revealed, dangerous. The names you give to yourself will become epithets. Your [...]

What the Teen Vogue Article on Disabled Models Tells Us

Teen Vogue just ran an article about the new face of fashion: disabled models. Written by disabled activist Keah Brown, the article highlights 3 disabled models: Chelsea Warner (who has Down syndrome), Mama Cax (an amputee), and Jillian Mercado (who has spastic muscular dystrophy). Teen Vogue and Disabled Models: The Teen Vogue article on disabled [...]

Are You Saying the Wrong Thing? The Right Way to Refer to a Disabled Person (With Star Trek Gifs)

A post for when you want to say the right thing because you are a disability ally.

You Ask, I Answer: Isn’t Feel-Good Disability Coverage Still Good Because It Raises Awareness?

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Things Our Culture Doesn’t Tell Us About Disability

Things Our Culture Doesn't Tell Us About Disability Growing up, our culture tells us a whole lot about the world in which we live. The message of our culture is that disability is a burden, it's a weakness, it's something we need to overcome and fix. If we have a disability, the message that we [...]

3 Reasons Why Your Use of the Word “Retarded” Makes You Look Stupid

This post is about why your use of the word "retarded" actually makes you look stupid. This is not a post about being politically correct and if you say anything about "being pc" I will reach through the computer and sprinkle legos all over your floor in the middle of the night, so don't say [...]

The Difference Between "Special Needs" and "Disability"

Special Needs and Disability I've got to admit that when I joined the "special needs" community 8 years ago by way of giving birth to my daughter with Down syndrome, I was confused with all the "special needs" this and that. "Disability", I was and am completely used to, both as a person with disabilities [...]

I’m Not a “Special Needs Mom”

I see "special needs mom" floating around in the Down syndrome and interwebs often, always more in the holiday or IEP season. There are listicles on the "special needs mom," memes on this person, blog posts and The Mighty posts - it's all out there!  I'm not her, though. I am not a "special needs [...]

The Pros and Cons of Having a Non-Visible Disability: A Conversation with Kari and Louisa

Louisa, an autistic woman, and Kari, a woman with cerebral palsy (or “Ceep” as she likes to refer to herself in community with other “palsy people”) recently got together at Meriah’s invitation to discuss the pros and cons of different kinds of disability, as follows. LOUISA PRO: I can choose who knows. Because people cannot [...]

NDSS is at the Table, But What Are They Saying?

Sara Weir is the President of the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS), which is the organization that spearheads and financially benefits from the Buddy Walks ®™ . NDSS claims to be the "leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome," and yet in the face of the loss of Medicaid, they have been, for [...]

Let’s Talk: The Conversation on the Down Syndrome Diagnosis Narrative…

There is so much in this video that I want to dissect about the Down Syndrome diagnosis narrative, but honestly, I don't feel like making this a resource post... let's just talk about it as friends do. Is that cool with you? But first - watch it if you haven't: I feel like there are a million [...]

4 Ideas for Developing A Strong Leadership Pipeline with Disabled Youth, by Corbett O’Toole

When funders focus on developing “youth leadership” they are nearly always assuming a nondisabled model. By that I mean they assume that most of the applicants will have access to the curriculum (even if it’s lousy) and can participate in whatever afterschool programs are offered (even if there’s a limited list). But most disabled folks [...]

Who Does the National Down Syndrome Society Serve Exactly?

The National Down Syndrome Society is noticeably absent from the Consortium of People with Disabilities that is striving to preserve healthcare and income

What I Think About Giving Nutritional Supplements to Children with Down Syndrome

Giving Nutritional Supplements to Children with Down Syndrome Giving nutritional supplements to children with Down syndrome has been a big topic for as long as I've been a member of the Down syndrome parent community. For those of you who aren't familiar with it all, it seems to fall into a few groups: nutrivene, big-time concentrated supplements of [...]

“Light It Up Blue” is Bad. This is Why You Shouldn’t Buy in to the Blue or the Puzzle

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3 Reasons to Say “Disability” Instead of “Special Needs”

I’ve kept these reasons short.

A Walk with Alison Piepmeier

There are few parents in the Down syndrome community who connect communities. By that, I mean that they connect the parent-led Down syndrome community with another community – disability, feminist, LGTBQ, race and so forth. The parents who are connecters are gold – they help us all understand more about communities that we may not be …

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