Link: The Stairs Don't Go Anywhere

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There's a really good interview with disability activist Norman Kunc, titled ""The Stairs Don't Go Anywhere!" A Self-Advocate's Reflections on Specialized Services and Their Impact on People with Disabilities. In the article, Kunc links disability with racism and sexism in quite an interesting way. A must read for all.
If you think about it, from the age of three until the age of twelve, three times a week, women who were older than I was, who were more powerful than I was, who had more authority than I had, brought me in to their room, their space, their turf. They took off some of my clothes. They invaded my personal space. They gripped me and touched me, manipulating my body in ways that were painful -- it hurt. Some of the exercises that were done in physical therapy were very painful, others were threatening. For example, there was the one where you are sitting or kneeling on the floor and the therapist kneels behind you and pushes you in different directions forward and sideways. The stated purpose of that activity is to improve reactive balance responses, but when I do this with nondisabled people as a training activity they find it enormously threatening when a person behind them is shoving them, especially when they never know what direction they were going to get pushed. When I was in school, I didn't know I had any other choice than to go along with it. So when you think of it, what did I have from the age of three up? People, women, who had more power than I did, took me in to their space, they took some of my clothes off, touched me in ways that were painful, and I felt that I had no choice in it. To me it's a form of sexual assault even though it was completely asexual. It's the power and domination that's is part of the abuse. It's important for professionals to understand and acknowledge the power differential that exists between themselves and the children with disabilities they are supposed to be serving.

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This page contains a single entry by Karen Nakamura published on August 16, 2005 2:02 PM.

Info: Youth Advisory Committee for the National Council on Disability was the previous entry in this blog.

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