Saturday, February 27, 2016

Value in Diversity

One of the most common themes I see is people belittling others based on intelligence. Use of ableist slurs is so common that people don't even bat an eye when ableist language is thrown into G rated movies without a thought. Why is this? People are equating lower intelligence, learning disabilities, and slow processing time to being a bad person, unworthy.

In fact, I think the value of a person is not based on intelligence at all. Qualities I look for in a person include kindness, compassion, and support for equality. But people don't hurl bigoted at another person as an insult, like they would an ableist slur...

There has been a campaign on social media recently called #SayTheWord. The word they are referring to is disabled. So many people are afraid to use this word, fearing it is an insult or disrespectful. Why do we think this? Because nondisabled people see themselves as superior to disabled people, like we are inherently broken. 

I have slow processing time. So it can be hard to have a verbal conversation with me, because the conversation has changed by the time I have processed and responded. Sometimes it is also hard for me to participate in written conversation when it moves too quickly. I have sensory difficulties, so it is hard for me to join in activities the way others do. 

I am not broken though. I am the friend that will sit with you all night, talking as long as you need. I am the parent that loves their kids fiercely, celebrating the glorious diversions from the mainstream that they are. I am the teacher that helps kids' first school experience be a safe and positive one. 

I'd like to see a change in the way people view other people. Ableist slurs can and should become a thing of the past. Separation between Autistic people, as some seek to separate us into gifted and learning disabled, as if those are the binaries we all exist under, should be done away with. No, we are not all the same. But our differences go far beyond an IQ score. I celebrate that diversity.


  1. This is important. I'm glad you wrote it. <3

  2. Yes! this is so important! (-Lei)

  3. Thank you for writing this. I completely agree. (Kathy)