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Disability, Accomodation, and Reality

My disabled friends may not like this, but it is reality: the world does not give you a "get out of consequences free" card just because you're disabled. You can scream, cry, and whine that it's "not fair", but it is reality.

The thing is, I'm disabled. I have some visible disabilities, and some hidden ones, and possibly some "mental" ones that just weren't labeled, categorized and coddled when I was growing up.

This is brought on by a "debate" I'm in in another journal, where the poster essentially said, "you shouldn't criticize a parent because their kid might be autistic and having a meltdown, and the kid shouldn't have to get removed from a public place because they can't help that they're disabled and can't behave themselves. You have no right to criticise any parent because they might have a hard job and your feelings don't count, only the kid does."

I cry "bullshit!".

This, to me, is like my entering a 1 mile Olympic foot race and then complaining when I lose that "I couldn't run because I am disabled, but I should be accommodated and win as if I was the best runner there."

You see, reality, and other people could care less "why" the brat is having a meltdown. It is the parents responsibility to judge the kids' tolerance for being out in public, and to remove them from disturbing the peace when they lose it.

For example, I hate crowds. I can become quite vicious and abusive if I am forced to stay in a crowd situation past my tolerance point. This is caused by my disability, or specifically the stroke that caused it. Do I insist that I have the "right" to stay in the crowd, and that the crowd must "tolerate" me when I start yelling, swearing, and smacking people with my cane? Hell no!! I leave, and go someplace where I can be alone. It's called maturity, and knowing my limitations.

A parent is supposed to be mature, and teach their kid to know their own limitations. This means removing an autistic kid from an overstimulating environment when they have a meltdown, for both the kids' sake, and the peace and consideration of the bystanders. This teaches the kid that the appropriate response to overstimulation is to leave, not to abuse the other people.

I can't start to "dash across" a busy street in the middle of a block, only to be brought up short by the fact that I can't dash, and expect that all traffic will miraculously stop as I stumble across. If I was lucky, the drivers wouldn't hit me, but they certainly would be well within their rights to vehemently criticise me for being an asshole and an idiot!! Plus, I would deserve the criticism, in spite of my disability!

Part of learning to live with a disability, either physical or mental, is learning to live with your limits. Physically I can't climb vertical ladders, and while I may grouse that I can't, unless there's somewhere that I *have* to go that requires a vertical ladder, I do not have the right to demand that all vertical ladders be replaced and banned. They aren't public accommodations in nearly all cases, and you can usually find someone who can climb them to do what needs to be done. So I'm not being stopped from things I *need* to do.

I have a temper problem - have had since I was a kid. They would probably label it ODD today. This does not exempt me from getting fired if I lose it in a big way at work, and explode all over a coworker or a customer. The other person has rights, too, you see, and they are not obligated to accommodate my temper problem at the expense of their own peace, safety, and comfort. This is one reason that I don't work retail. I tried it, briefly, once and I can't deal with the people. I don't demand that people in a store "accommodate" the asshattery that results from my inability to cope with being a greeter or a clerk, I just don't do that kind of work.

The same thing goes for misbehaving kids, regardless of the reason, or how hard their parents struggle is. Other people are not obligated to accommodate asshattery and abuse. Members of the public, or establishment owners, aren't required to accommodate, appreciate, or tolerate screaming, hitting, destruction of property, and shit, piss, slobber and vomit on merchandise that they might have wanted to buy. It doesn't matter whether the misbehavior is done by a child or an adult, a disabled person or a "normal" person, or anything else.

Your, and your kids, right to be an asshole stops when someone else's personal space begins. In public, that means wherever people are or might be, or might need to come in contact with. In your own house, it's up to you. It doesn't matter to me why you are an ass. If you are an obnoxious, peace disturbing and/or property damaging ass in a public place, I have the right to criticise, complain, and even try to have you removed. You don't like it? Tough. The world does not have to bow down before you because you are a parent, a kid, or a person with a social disability.

If you're a parent, part of the job you took on when you had a kid is to try to teach that kid how to behave in public. Part of doing so is making sure that they know there are consequences for not doing so. When I was a kid, if I had a meltdown, tantrum, or other type of behavioral problem in a public place, my mother either punished me, removed me from the public place, or both. She was a parent, and it was her job.

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
witchchild
Apr. 21st, 2005 05:21 pm (UTC)
I have to say one thing I find very odd about some of the parents I observe is that they don't want to put up ANY sort of limits or boundaries on a kid. Yeah, sometimes it can limit a child, but at the same time, they need to learn how to function when others are around, and that some things just aren't tolerable behaviour.

(My best friend has custody of her niece and nephew. Her niece lost her privelidges to a birthday party, and I mean EVERYTHING, party cake and gifts, because she was being that hard to handle. Mean to her? Maybe. But we can't always get what we want.)
lysana
Apr. 22nd, 2005 03:32 am (UTC)
Not teaching a kid there are limits and boundaries when dealing with other people is one step shy of abuse.
spamwarrior
Apr. 30th, 2005 06:40 am (UTC)
hear hear. Although today on NPR there was a man talking about research done to show that setting no limits or boundaries is less harmful then over-imposing limits and boundaries. - no discipline is better then too much.

Overall the guy seemed to be off the wall - he was advocating removal of grading scales and rewards systems in schools and such - but the research they were discussing sounded solid.

No one seems to take the middle road on discipline. I can't imagine what the neice could have done to completley lose all birthday fun.
ms_daisy_cutter
May. 24th, 2005 02:26 pm (UTC)
A little late to the party here, but...

on NPR there was a man talking about research done to show that setting no limits or boundaries is less harmful then over-imposing limits and boundaries. - no discipline is better then too much.

Overall the guy seemed to be off the wall - he was advocating removal of grading scales and rewards systems in schools and such - but the research they were discussing sounded solid.


I don't buy their "research." I have to wonder how much they tortured the data before they could get it to confess. And it's not a binary thing, either, no limits vs. too many limits.

Anyone who goes into a school today can see for themselves the results of not putting any limits on kids at all. If this moron on NPR thinks that there need to be fewer, not more, limits on kids' behaviors in the schools, he needs a clue-by-four upside the right temple.
spamwarrior
May. 24th, 2005 06:42 pm (UTC)
I think he meant more on parenting approaches rather then school approches. If I recall correctly a kindergarten teacher called in and asked how to apply individual treatment to a class of 20 kids and he really didn't say anything uyseful. he got called on it. hah :-) you're right.
jemyl
Apr. 23rd, 2005 04:16 pm (UTC)
If you're a parent, part of the job you took on when you had a kid is to try to teach that kid how to behave in public. Part of doing so is making sure that they know there are consequences for not doing so. When I was a kid, if I had a meltdown, tantrum, or other type of behavioral problem in a public place, my mother either punished me, removed me from the public place, or both. She was a parent, and it was her job."</i>

Thank you! Part of being that kind of parent also involves being willing to withstand the yelling and screaming and cussing which may result. As a parent, it is important to teach consequences and to all Children. It is also important to make the consequences fit the misbehavior. Sometimes I think I made the mistake of inadvertently rewarding my eldest daughter's temper tantrums by paying attention to them and removing or punishing her.

There are two theories on the whole thing. One is the one I used of removing or punishing while another is to simply ignore the outbursts consistently until the child realizes that temper tantrums get one absolutely no attention whatsoever and seeks attention in other ways. My choice was based on my basic need to protect my child and others from the physical ramifications of her temper, which were often considerable. (She bit me hard on the thigh and called me a Bitch at the age of three. I had to hang up the phone and physically put her in her room to cool off. It was a consequence which she didn't like, yes, but it also was a reward in that she got to determine when I paid attentionn to her and when I got to do what I wanted to do. The second result was not a good one.)

Dealing with an ODD child is never easy and there is no absolutely right way to do it. The important thing is to find what is most comfortable for both the parent and society and then do that consistently. It took me a while to learn this with my first child. It was made doubly difficult by the simple fact that her paternal grandparents and, to some extent, her father didn't agree with me and would give her "sympathy" or "poor darling" her when she reacted with tears over being removed from the situation. Having had somewhat the same problem as a child, I knew what was likely to work and help my child learn ways to cope with her asshattery. (I still will just slam out for a walk around the block when I get so angry I know that I am about to lose it. At those times I still feel like a complete failure for having lost it along with lots of hatred of that part of myself.)

Unlike you, though, Ravan, I turned mine around for working retail and all kinds of outside sales. I make it a contest to see if I can make the asshat customers doubly happy. I KWK (Kill them With Kindness) just to see if I can make the most stupid ones do what I want instead of what they want. LOL It is still control, just in a different way.

FWIW, I also have come to believe that these childhood and sometimes adult temper problems are part and parcel of the most creative people. We tend to think outside the box and totally fail to understand why others cannot do the same.

Love you, Ravan! I will also take this opportunity to let you know that Bill is in the hospital with a possible G.I. bleed and a bowel impaction and possible gut twist. That means I spend most of my day getting frustrated with chickypoo young nurses who discount caregivers just because we don't have an RN. (Don't get me wrong. Most RN's are great, particularly after they have worked in the field a few years and have learned to consider individual differences and to treat their patients as individuals.)

I'll let you know when they find out what is really going on, causing the bleed etc. Oh, vertical ladders are dangerous anyway. Just ask Bill >Grin<.


(Reply to this)
chipuni
Apr. 28th, 2005 07:13 pm (UTC)
A superb post; thank you!
ex_ms_katoni171
Apr. 29th, 2005 09:22 am (UTC)
Wonderful!

I have Asperger's Syndrome myself, and if I'm overstressed, I can still meltdown. What do I do? I remove myself somewhere quiet and unstressful as soon as I can to get over it.

The reason autistic people have meltdowns is because something in their immediate environment is upsetting them in some way. The best way to deal with that is to remove themselves elsewhere away from the stress. Any parent of an autistic child who does not do this is basically forcing their child to remain in a situation with which they cannot cope. Is it me, or does this sound abusive?

Never mind the kid's 'rights'. Kids don't have rights. They have interests. Good parents know the difference.
ms_daisy_cutter
May. 24th, 2005 02:38 pm (UTC)
I have Asperger's Syndrome myself, and if I'm overstressed, I can still meltdown. What do I do? I remove myself somewhere quiet and unstressful as soon as I can to get over it.

Having similar issues myself (no formal diagnosis, though), I completely emphathize. It makes it hard sometimes to get errands done, because there are days when I just don't have what it takes to go into a store and deal with an array of stimuli beating down on me. But putting off a non-critical errand, I've found, is much better than flipping out.

Never mind the kid's 'rights'. Kids don't have rights. They have interests. Good parents know the difference.

Bravo. Unfortunately, when it comes to the pah-runtz who yell the loudest about "rights," it's really all about them, not about their offspring.

(Just thinking of some parental complaint from a year or two ago that Disneyworld/land wouldn't let autistic kids and their parents jump to the front of long lines for rides, because the kids are incapable of waiting. Jeez ... what intelligent person brings an autist to a place where the overwhelming stimuli are sure to set him or her off? Don't bother to answer; that was rhetorical.)
(Deleted comment)
spiderlilyfairy
Jul. 6th, 2005 09:29 am (UTC)
careful-
I am an adult w/ ADHD, combined type. I coped well, but when my problems w/time management threatened my job, instead of screaming about "rights," I did what I needed to do- sought treatment. I'm not causing problems at work anymore, and it makde me feel more in control to be able to beat that one little thing.

ADHD can be used as an excuse, but on occasion, its legit. I'm 42, formally diagnosed this year; my mom was 71 when diagnosed a year ago.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )

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