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Different vs. Disabled

Anosognosia is the state of denying a serious disability. In the most serious cases, it is a mental health disorder, causing the deaf to insist they can hear or the blind to insist they can see. Obviously, not a good thing and potentially dangerous.

I have received e-mails critical of the instances when I have described myself as disabled. People have offered many terms and phrases as alternatives -- and I have rejected these: differently abled, special, challenged, gifted, blessed, evolved, perceptually acute, sensitive, et cetera.

I don't deny my limits. I know I cannot do some things.

There are definitely physical impairments I have that might not apply universally. To assume I am only writing of my unique neurology is a mistake. I am physically disabled; these are mild limits and do not affect my daily existence.

The neurological differences I face are not a "gift" most days.

In "neuro-diversity" communities, there are those who deny autism is anything more than a difference. These are a minority, but a vocal minority nonetheless. The logic of these activists is to challenge and resist public misconceptions of autism, especially within the high-functioning / Asperger's syndrome subcategories.

It is definitely a disability to be unable to handle mass transit, many public spaces, bright lights, loud sounds, strong smells, and so on. It is not a mere "difference" to be stuck at home many days, unable to tolerate the sensory overload of normal existence.

Yes, I am different, but I'm also disabled.

Do not confused disabled for unable. I think that's the real concern of activists: having a disability does not mean an individual cannot adapt and plan around any personal limitations. We all work around our limits.


  1. And disability doesn't necessarily have to do only with the individual. Being unable to handle mass transit, public spaces, and so on, is as much a function of *their* ergonomic failings as it is a function of impairment or deficit on one's own part.

    We need both the social and the medical models of disability, to move forward.

    The anosognosiacs (Aspies for Freedom, Aspergia, and so on) claiming to represent the principles of self-advocacy and neurodiversity do no such thing, and they do not speak for me any more than do Autism Speaks or any of the other cure-or-bust autism organizations out there.

  2. Unless you can make a train nearly silent (and cities have tried everything from rubber wheels to constant lithium grease drips), I can't bear the noise of the turns. I also hate the regular vibrations at seams in the tracks.

    The dirt, the smells, the sounds of people... they don't help, either. It's simply too much. I am even worse after a ride on the bus. They have some very nice express busses here, but I cannot stand the people aspects.

    It's okay. I know my limits. The cities here have done a better-than-average job, but I'm too sensitive to tolerate any more than a few minutes on transit.

    I even had to rig the back seat of our Jeep because it "squeaks" on bad roads and the sound gives me a headache. That's just me.

    Some days, I do feel trapped.

  3. Thanks for sharing, CS. It always gives me some insight into what my little guy is going through or will go through.


  4. Keep sharing. Like BB, it helps me understand my son.


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