13 July 2015

How Not to Plan Disability Conferences

How Not to Plan Disability Conferences
(or, how to be an ableist asswipe while planning a disability conference)

1. Form a planning committee without any actually disabled people on it. You’re parents/researchers/professors/professionals. You know what you’re doing, and you can do it without letting those pesky little personal biases get in the way. 

2. Alternatively, form a planning committee with your one token disabled person, so you can honestly say that, well, there was a person with a disability in the room. You have to remember all those overly-sensitive people with disabilities who’ll start hyperventilating about “inclusion” if you don’t do the politically correct thing. Bonus points if you get a token disabled person who already believes you are the Experts God Put On Earth on disability.

3. Produce an initial list of speakers/presenters without any actually disabled people on it. Don’t worry, you already know who all of the experts are on the conference themes/topics/strands. It just so happens that none of them are disabled. But hey, it’s the loving (non-disabled) family members, the dedicated (non-disabled) researchers and professionals, the prominent (non-disabled) professors who’ve done so much work for so many years to improve the lives of people with disabilities. They should be grateful you care so much. 

4. Ignore the list of disabled people with relevant expertise on the conference’s themes/topics/strands that the token disabled person provides. You don’t know most of those people, and even if the token disabled person does, they must not be very important or accomplished because you would have heard of them if they really were. Besides, you’ve already pretty much decided who the speakers will be. You just have to make the token disabled person feel like someone listened to their opinion before you proceed. 

5. Insist that none of the disabled people suggested should be presenters because “They’re not like my child/client/student!” (otherwise known as “They’re high-functioning!”) After all, if someone is capable of presenting at a conference, they must obviously have very mild disabilities—who knows, maybe they’re even so close to normal no one would ever consider them really disabled. 

6. Make sure you mention the one or two disabled people on the list who you actually know. Discredit their qualifications to speak on the conference themes/topics/strands. 

7. Relegate disabled speakers to the “inspirational personal story” presentation. You should ignore any of their interest or ability to speak about public policy, best practices, recent research developments, advocacy strategies, theory, etc.

8. You can also consider having disabled people co-present alongside non-disabled experts. You know, to provide a personal anecdote as a way of legitimizing the non-disabled main presenter’s expertise. 

9. Constantly remind everyone, especially the token disabled person, that you have a very limited budget, and can’t afford to bring in any speakers from outside the local area where the conference is happening. Then insist on bringing in one of the non-disabled presenters who lives so many states away it’s definitely a long-distance trip. 

10. Dismiss one of the disabled speaker suggestions because you had to pay them a lot of money the last time you asked them to speak. Obviously any other disabled person asking for money is clearly asking for an unreasonable and impossible amount. Besides, it’s not like they need that much money. Don’t they have families to mooch off of and SSDI to collect or something?

11. Create a list of target audiences for your conference that doesn’t even include people with disabilities as a target audience. Reluctantly add them in later under “families.” Some of those more high-functioning people with disabilities might show up. And of course, some families will have to bring their lower-functioning relatives with them, but it’s not like they’d be listening or anything. 

12. Remember to keep telling your token disabled person that they are very high-functioning and don’t know what it’s like to have severe disabilities. Emphasize this especially whenever the token disabled person tries to get the rest of the committee to bring in actually disabled speakers. Don’t forget—anyone the token disabled person suggests must also be very high-functioning if they could theoretically present at a conference.

13. Repeatedly tell the token disabled person that they’re not listening to what anyone else is saying. It doesn’t matter that they’ve barely been given any time to speak and have mostly been ignored. The fact that they keep harping about more speakers with disabilities (eye roll) is just more evidence that they’re. not. listening. to. you.

14. If you have to include disabled speakers/presenters, make sure your token disabled person at least gets the comfort of a consolation prize. (See #7 and #8.) Don’t worry. It’s for the best.

15. If you post information about your conference online, make sure to only list the name of the non-disabled main presenters for any presentation where you have so kindly thought to include one or more disabled speakers to provide their "personal perspective" as a self-narrating zoo exhibit for you. This makes total sense, of course, since the disabled speakers aren't presenting the main ideas or concepts or research. They're just there to illustrate your fantastic non-disabled expert's points.

16. Remember. You’re being perfectly reasonable. Any possible complaints are unfounded accusations riddled with personal bias, irrational thinking, and emotionally volatile lack of perspective. You have done everything you possibly could. At this point, if you have to just go ahead and make your final decisions without the token disabled person on board with it, you just have to do it. They’re just the token, in the end. It’s not like they’re important or anything, and it’s definitely not like their opinion was actually going to change the outcome anyway. 


This is a red rageface sketch. Why? Because THIS SHIT FILLS ME WITH RAGE WHEN IT HAPPENS. Which is often.



Seriously, don't do any of these things. If you or someone you know is doing one of those things, stop!


1. If you realize that everyone invited so far is not disabled, or everyone on your list of possible speakers is not disabled, ask some actually disabled people -- not just one -- who they think should be invited to the conference. If you're asking disabled people who are *in touch with* disability activism or advocacy or anything disability-related, we definitely know people with disabilities you could invite.

2. It's fine to have parameters by necessity -- for example, you have a small budget so you can only invite speakers who live nearby, or you need someone to be able to talk about specific types of issues -- but don't use these parameters to exclude disabled speakers. Again, if you're asking disabled people who are in touch with the movement, we either know disabled people within your parameters or we know people who will.

3. Don't make exceptions to your financial/compensation/geographic parameters for one or more non-disabled speakers while denying the disabled speakers a) an honorarium, b) travel expenses for out-of-state, c) travel expenses for local travel, d) lodging expenses/arrangements, e) per diem costs, f) any other arrangements that you're paying for. If you catch someone doing this, ask why you are prioritizing a non-disabled person (no matter how awesome they or their work are) over a disabled person.

4. Rethink who is on the planning committee. Don't invite people as tokens -- actually talk to disabled people who you know and ask them to take a substantive leadership role in the planning of your conference. More than one. More than two. And yes, expect some of us to decline because of time, energy, spoons, or other limitations on our ability to engage. So ask several of us. When there are disabled people, and not just one or a handful (proportionate to the total number of people in the room), involved in the planning, a lot of these issues will be avoided.

5. Change the wording on any publicity materials to mention that YES, disabled people are an expected constituency. People with disabilities should always be expected in the audience of anything related to disability, even and especially if the material is geared more toward "parents" or "professionals." Why? Because a.) some of us are part of those groups also, and b.) we have the most valuable possible perspective to give to non-disabled parents, professionals, or what-have-you, since we live every day the things you will be talking about.

6. Another good way to acknowledge and affirm -- and thereby make your conference infinitely more welcoming and inclusive -- that disabled people may want to be present at your thing is to include easily findable information about access and accommodations.

Be up front if you won't have ASL interpretation. It's shitty if you don't but can, less shitty but still in the shitty category if you don't because you can't, but it's always even more shitty if you're not even able to be up front about it and leave d/Deaf and hard-of-hearing potential attendees wondering and forced to ask (which many won't do because they're used to being told no, which sucks for obvious reasons). If on the off-chance you actually WILL have ASL interpretation, please plaster that information everywhere. I mean everywhere.

In the same part of your site or other materials on access/accommodations, make sure to describe whether there is adequate wheelchair/mobility access. Establish a low-fragrance policy. Establish a no flash photography -- and no photography of any kind without consent of those in the picture -- policy. Mention if there will be a break room where attendees can take a break from the stimulation. (Seriously, that's not just autistics; it's also people with anxiety, people with physical disabilities or chronic pain, people with depression, etc. etc. etc.) These are all little things that you can do for minimal cost, and that advertising and talking about publicly can send a strong message that you're expecting and trying to be as welcoming as possible for disabled people.

* (On the minimal cost note, yes, ASL interpretation or CART captioning are expensive, and because interpreters and captioners need to eat too. That's why it is a shitty situation if you can't have ASL interpretation or CART captioning, but because of our current capitalistic system, if you don't have enough money, it's just not a thing that can happen.)

7. When you ask disabled people to speak at your conference, be up front that they are welcome to share personal stories or their individual perspective based on their specific life experiences/childhood/etc. if they want to do so, either as the main presentation (if it's open topic and presenter gets to decide) or as backdrop/details, but that you are NOT EXPECTING a self-narrating zoo exhibit / in-person inspiration porn / a token self-advocate to make the non-disabled people feel good about themselves. In fact, if you're inviting disabled people to talk about anything beyond merely themselves (whether or not they also include information and stories about themselves in the presentation), like public policy, research, activism, or advocacy, you should say that in the invite. Like, "Hey, we know you've done a lot of work on employment issues affecting people with disabilities. Like, you've won awards, worked for orgs, and spent years advocating for better employment supports and shit. Since you're such a fantastic advocate and your work is super important, it would be awesome if you came to speak at our conference in [some place] on [some date] about employment and disability issues!"

There are more professional ways to convey this sentiment than this wording, but hey, if it suits you, feel free to snag it verbatim from here.

8. Listen to what disabled people have to say. Seriously. It's not that hard, but people make it out to be. If someone disabled in your planning group can talk or go to college or has a job or can help plan a conference, don't use that fact to say, "Oh well you know, you're very high-functioning/mild/etc., so you really don't get it." That's shitty. It's ableist. It's invalidating, dismissive, and demeaning. It's also incredibly arrogant. Does someone who went to college know what it's like to not be able to go to college? Well, obviously, no. But someone who has ANY kind of disability, no matter how specifically they are impacted or what specific skills they have or lack, is going to have a better grasp of what it's like to be disabled in ways that have really significant impact on life than you as a non-disabled person. (Here's an excellent blog post about precisely this topic written by someone who does have more impairments than me in a lot of ways, so go read theirs.)

9. Speak up if someone else in your planning group is saying or doing these shitty things. If they're saying them in front of the whole group, and you know they're wrong, and you have the ability to speak out, then do. That's called practicing good allyship. Because if disabled people aren't in the room to begin with, then all we can hope for is someone who's in there to say something. Or if we're in the room, but we're being constantly shouted down or talked over or talked down to in those patronizing voices, it's actually really nice for a change to have someone who will be taken more seriously (i.e. someone not disabled) speak up for us and say, "Yeah, actually, [disabled person here] is right. This is not okay."

10. If someone is objecting to someone presenting because "well they're too high-functioning" and you're supposed to be talking about people who "could never present at a conference," think about these two things: a) a lot of non-disabled, neurotypical people can't present at conferences, because it's just not in their skillset. b) if you're thinking there are people whose disabilities would mean they couldn't comfortably be in a conference space, please start questioning whether i) you mean their behavior (like, humming, or pacing, or flapping, or rocking, or sitting on the floor, or something) would make you uncomfortable and therefore be inconvenient to the non-disabled people in the room or ii) you can rethink how you are designing the whole conference (length and number of breaks, expectations for behavior/seating arrangement during sessions, lighting -- natural or artificial, availability of food/drinks, etc.) so the space would actually be more inclusive for more types of people.

11. Don't conflate disabled people into the families category. A lot of us ARE also parents of disabled kids, or siblings of other disabled people, or spouses or partners of other disabled people, etc. etc., but if by "families" you typically mean "non-disabled family members of someone with a disability," you don't get to lump us in as a subcategory. List us separately. It's totally okay (and I encourage you) to acknowledge that parents/spouses/siblings/etc. can also be disabled themselves, but the category of "disabled people/PWD's" needs to exist on its own as well. This should be common sense if the conference is about disability, but apparently it isn't.

12. If you're offering an honorarium to non-disabled speakers, offer the same honorarium to disabled speakers. Doing otherwise shows that you value the labor of non-disabled people, but don't believe that the labor of disabled people is worth paying us for. That's shitty.

13. Don't have the disabled person/people in the planning group only be responsible for planning a single in-the-back or niche session where disabled people will be presenting. That's just as tokenizing and othering as not having any disabled speakers at all. Strive to include disabled speakers throughout your event, not just at one small part of it.

14. And include the disabled people in the planning group in all parts of the planning, with equal responsibility and decision-making power as everyone else, for all other parts of the conference. If they're not speaking up, explicitly ask/invite them to share their thoughts, and give extra time for them to respond. Give the option of responding by phone or over email or some other medium that's not in-person if the in-person meetings aren't eliciting many comments from them. Create multiple modes of access and participation.

Soooo that afterword turned into almost an entirely separate list on its own. I would apologize for that, but I'm not actually sorry. Pass this one around, because these kinds of conferences, symposia, workshops, training sessions, etc. are planned all the time and way more of the time than not, there are no disabled people involved in planning, there are no disabled speakers, or if there are disabled speakers, they're expected to fulfill the role of self-narrating zoo exhibit / inspiration porn and absolutely nothing else whatsoever. Since a lot of you reading this will at some point have the opportunity to push back against these harmful practices, it's especially important that you do so. We don't want tokenism. We want real representation. 


  1. Great post. I'm actually bewildered how a disability conference couldn't be planned by all/most disabled people, feature all disabled presenters? What would the purpose even be then, to hold a disability for and by able-bodied people? Gross.

  2. You forgot to mention: "Make sure the information about the disability conference is not disability accessible and is not circulated among the disability community. Present crucial information in pdf format with tiny text or, even better, in jpgs with no caption or alt text and use really fancy fonts — for example, make the crucial text the ribbons on balloons rising in the air. Lots of people with disabilities won't be able to access the information that way, so they won't clutter up the room!"

    1. Haha, totally. Make sure there are no ASL interpreters, real-time transcription, or audio descriptions available. And be sure to hold the conference in a facility with auditorium-style seating so chair users have to sit all the way in the front or all the way in the back. Additionally, be sure the speakers purposefully forgo using the microphone during their presentation because, hey, everyone loves to hear someone shout for an hour and everyone should be able to understand them perfectly anyway!

    2. And above all, if a person who uses a wheelchair is presenting do NOT have the stage or podium accessible. And do not provide any assistance with using tech, as of course no presenters will have LDs.

  3. Anonymous, the reason there are disability conferences planned without disabled people on the committees or in the target audience is that there are entire industries that sell services to parents or caregivers of disabled people--or that do research on disabled people.

    1. Nothing about us without us!!!!

    2. That's the point of this article, though. "Doing research on" disabled people isn't the same as communicating with/listening to disabled people about what THEY say THEY need. We need MORE disabled input to provide BETTER care. That's what inclusion is about.

      Selling stuff to the parents/cargivers is great, but it would be better to know if the stuff is HELPFUL from the person it's supposed to be helping - and that isn't just the parents/caregivers - it's the DISABLED person.

      We non-disabled need to get off our high horses, and not just observe, but INTERACT and INCLUDE. We don't know everything, and we have a hard time letting go of that, but we really, REALLY need to.

  4. In case folks reading here don't know about it, the Composing Access Project has some resources for conference organizers (I have made one small contribution there): http://composingaccess.net/
    Thanks for this post. It's a good gut check for those of us who do this work.

  5. I am new to the whole conference thing in this area and was shocked last week when I attended an 'information session'. We entered the hall and music was blaring. We were told to arrive early, then there was nothing important to do and you had to pay for the coffee. A photographer took in-your-face shots without consent but with a hefty flash. All speakers were introduced with a slide showing their name and expertise until we got to the 'families and PWD' speakers'. None of them were named, including one who was clearly an articulate professional advocate (and I wanted to remember who she was as she was so brilliant, but alas, no slide, no name). Most of the morning seemed to be about an organisation patting itself on the back (this is fine, just don't waste my time while you do it!). A long, stupid, insulting morning for about 5 minutes of useful information..... I can't imagine what this must be like if you are called upon to do it again and again. I think I would smack someone and resort to graffiti-ing the inspirational slogans left for us on our chairs.....

  6. Well well well, what a crock....seriously Doing Research on Disabled People isn't the same as communicating and listening who wrote that? As a non disabled person who has been working in the field of disabilities for 35 years, supporting, helping, conducting research and yes listening to literally 10s of thousands of people experiencing the effects of a broad range of disabilities I consider myself well placed to contribute to any discussion on disabilities including advocating for those collective views ideas and suggestions that i have been privileged to hear and understand over the years. I have to say though that 99.99% of all the people i have worked with were more gracious and tolerant than the author of this piece of tripe. Perhaps you have been left out of organising conferences because of your angry, back and white, anti non disabled people views. Do you really think a person who is non disabled with the broad experience that i have described can't contribute to the bigger picture or is incapable of understanding the issues faced by so many.
    Everyone can work to make the whole world accessible but some people will still grumble spend less time dissing those trying to make a difference and more time trying to make a difference yourself

    1. If what you're getting from my post is, "Non-disabled people are terrible, horrible, bad, evil, ignorant ignoramuses who shouldn't ever do anything on disability ever!" then you have fantastically missed the point.

      It's great when non-disabled people do disability rights work. Not so much when non-disabled people barge into disabled people's spaces insisting that they know SO MUCH about disability because they've listened to SO MANY disabled people, while completely dismissing the disabled person who wrote the thing with a heap of self-righteous condescension.

      ("You're so angry! You're so black and white!" Classic derails, classic delegitimization techniques. I know your type, and I doubt that no matter how "respectfully" I chose to frame my writing, you would still insist that I'm angry and extremist and therefore shouldn't be listened to.)

      Spend more time trying to make a difference?

      Guess who spent the better part of today testifying at a hearing on human rights in behavioral interventions for people with disabilities? Hint: Wasn't you.

      You clearly have no idea whose space you've just dumped your garbage in.

    2. Anonymous, if this is an example of your "advocacy" for disabled people, then you are exactly the problem and the reason that things like this need to be written.

    3. It's great that you listen to people with disabilities.

      This is not the norm.

      So a few years ago I was helping plan a conference. The planners/presenters were doctors, psychologists and other professionals in the field of childhood developmental disabilities. The target audience were local professionals who are in the field of developmental disabilities or who sometimes care for children with developmental disabilities and wanted to learn more. I'm disabled, but I wasn't on the planning committee because I'm disabled and it would never have occurred to anyone to specifically seek out my opinion or perspective as a PWD. I was there because I was in the department sponsoring the conference.

      The conference was held annually, and the theme that year was "Transition to adult services." We were brainstorming speakers and panelists.

      I suggested inviting a young adult who had recently transitioned to adult services to speak on their experiences - with work, or college or switching to adult doctors from pediatricians.

      "That's a great idea!" someone said. "Let's ask a parent!"

      "A parent would be helpful too," I said, "but we should really ALSO have an adult themselves."

      "Yes, yes, a parent panel!"

      I had to repeat my point three times before the group of people at the table, nice, kind, well meaning professionals in the disability field grasped the idea that there was a difference between being a parent of someone with a developmental disability and actually being someone with a developmental disability. That's how long it took them to hear me.

      That's how ingrained it is in professional culture not to consider the PWD perspective. Even professionals who may ask a specific patient or client for their perspective on their own life, care or priorities often don't think about getting input from PWDs on a systemic basis.

      That same year, I went to a workshop about adult issues in autism, led by a non-autistic parent of an autistic teen, at a conference aimed at parents and professionals. I don't believe any autistic or otherwise disabled people had been involved in planning the conference. The first thing the leader asked at the workshop was "Who here is a parent?" "Who here is a professional?" Then she started her presentation. Never occurred to her that, at a workshop on adult autism, there might be actual adult autistics.

      I just started working at a rehabilitation hospital and we are planning an educational lecture series. They are starting to take suggestions for guest speakers. I can guarantee there is going to be resistance when I suggest that we hear from adults with disabilities similar to the children we care for, as well as doctors and psychologists and speech therapists. I'm going to suggest it anyway, and keep advocating until it happens. I expect it may take a year. They will probably ask me to speak because, after all, I'm a professional like them and they can forget that I'm also a PWD who is in many ways, quite like the children for whom we care.

      It's great if you listen to people with disabilities. Part of listening to people with disabilities is listening to us when we say - we are being systematically excluded from planning and presenting in conferences about our own lives and from being considered part of the target audience of these conferences.

    4. If you consider either the original post or Patricia's comment (to which you now conveniently claim to have been responding) to be a manifestation of "angry, black and white, anti non disabled people views," that only demonstrates how accustomed you and others like you have become to running the show and expecting deference from us disabled people. What we're asking for is basic respect, and to have our needs met. When those things don't happen--and especially when they keep not happening--we are well within our rights to get more than a little pissed off.

      Incidentally, if you are such a distinguished and experienced researcher, why do you insist on hiding behind the cloak of anonymity?

  7. lol Lydia if you had even bothered to read my comments you would clearly see that I was responding to Patricia's comment regarding "doing research isn't...."

    "Doing research on" disabled people isn't the same as communicating with/listening to disabled people about what THEY say THEY need"

    Having spent years doing research where most if not all of it was exactly that " listening and communicating with people who have disabilities to ensure that collectively what they say and need is incorporated into improvements across a range of important issues.

    I can see from the tone and venom of the response that I am not welcome here and that my opinion doesn't matter so i will leave you to it and get back to the important work of trying to make the world a more inclusive accessible place.

    Now that i have been delegitimized as one of those types I can see that there is more than Patricia with angry black and white views anti non disabled people views.

    1. Clearly you didn't bother to read anything closely -- Patricia isn't even disabled; she clearly identified herself as non-disabled.

      And frankly, the way you talk to people you perceive as "too angry" while disabled gives me no reason whatsoever to think of you as someone I would ever want to trust. Given what non-disabled people *do* to disabled people all the time, you might want to consider that your discomfort at our anger is seriously not the problem.

      By the way, if you're so proud of who you are and what you've done, why are you posting anonymously? Do you have something to hide?

    2. If you comment in the wrong place, you can't get miffed when people very reasonably infer that you're responding to the blog post itself. In any case, I invite your to re-read your original comment, and then rethink your definition of the word "venom." If you must engage in tone-policing (which, hint, you mustn't), it behooves you to police yourself first.

    3. Being too angry and having convictions about (a lack of) meaningful inclusion is better than being condescending and, if you claim to be working for the interests of people with disabilities while chastising self-advocates, hypocritical.because someone didn't give what you see as the proper amount of respect for your expertise.

  8. WOW! This is extremely facinating... I'm rarely speechless. I had to read this three times before I could form words in my head so I could actually comment. I enjoyed listening to everyone talk AT everyone, I HEARD everyone. I agree with MOST everyone... I LOVE this conversation because from my personal perspective as an angry, frustrated, confused, happy/sad, anxious adult trying to answer everyone's question to me (i.e. "what's wrong with you?" that people started asking me when I was 4 or 5 years old), I think this conversation is an exceptionally well crafted example of a main issue regarding every serious condition, disorder, disease, blah, blah, blah. DIFFERENCE. There is a DIFFERENCE. Learning about something and knowing something are DIFFERENT. Researching gives you information about the topic, that you can turn into knowledge, and then, intellectually, you can grasp the idea of what something may be like and that is VERY DIFFERENT from LIVING IT. And, I LOVE words and thank you to whoever taught me 'tone-policing' = LOVE-LOVE-LOVE that word. And, nothing ever comes from nothing,so, let's keep this conversation going until everyone UNDERSTANDS what the other people are saying. I think Anonymous tries extremely hard to "get it..." and maybe could stop trying so hard and simple LISTEN. Lydia, you are my hero for today because I thought I was the only one who could throw up so much emotion and information at the same time with so much 'passion' (yo, Anonymous - hear the difference????!!!!!!!). Lydia, conversate away. You're fanfreakintastic!!!!!! I love all the comments.

  9. !!!!!! I love all the comments. And, some of them sound like 5 year olds (fine, I'll take my toys and go home, lol. I know this one well) and some of them sound so intellectual and formal, they could be off-putting to some people. I'm guilty of all of this, ALL the time (LOL!!!). I have an idea (and before anyone jumps down my throat, I'm NOT saying it's a GOOD idea, just simply, an idea): I'd like everyone who commented to take a deep breath, exhale completely, and then go back and read everything again looking past the labeling and hear the thoughts. Read the words to get the information and leave the judgments about how the information is presented (e.g. too angry, too black and white, etc.) on the page, and, for the love of God and all that's holy, just soak up the information, find the funny, and keep moving forward. There is soooooooo much FUNNY here. And, Anonymous... it's not nice to point at anyone and say 'you're TOO this and TOO that and I'm going to hazard a guess that you also point and say 'you're NOT ENOUGH of this or that.' I don't know if I'm autistic or crazy or... both? BUT I know that when people point at me and say those things, I shut down. The only permanent labels I have so far are ADHD and Dyslexia and Auditory something or other and general anxiety and performance anxiety and social anxiety and panic attacks and depression and... OCD (so they say, so I thought...but my repetitive things sooth me, not agitate me. I understand that may be a difference between OCD and self-soothing repetitive behaviors). Heavy sigh, and, I've been misdiagnosed (TWICE) with bipolar, now they're leaning toward borderline (even though I don't and never have exhibited the "hallmark" symptoms...heavy sigh) at this point, I’m actually past caring what the label they give me says. Autistic, grrrrreat – I’ll be in excellent company. Borderline, fine. I love Madonna and her borderline song. Both, wahoo, I’m a more is more person (screw less is more!). There's so much here. So much funny, so much sad, so much blame, and soooooooo many trigger words for me (that I also use when I'm triggered): Clearly, frankly, by the way, etc... Well...I absorbed a lot of information, had a good long giggle and hope ya'll will remember Rodney whatever his last name was. "Can't we all just get along?" Anonymous, come out of your closet and play nicely with us... OR, if we are TOO OVERWHELMING for you, use your words nicely to make a graceful exit. Whatda say? Others, let not exclude Anonymous, I know that I've been excluded so many times I don't ever want to exclude anyone... Can we just keep the conversation going forward and even include Anonymous? And, please keep including me too? (nervous giggle). She's trying very hard to be helpful. It's not completely her fault that she just doesn't 'get it', just like it's not completely our fault when we don't 'get it,' yea? I want to live in a world where NO ONE GETS LEFT BEHIND. Anonymous, I recommend the movies ‘Lilo and Stitch’ and ‘Inside Out’ to give you a more visceral experience of ASD to balance out all the intellectual information you've gathered. :D big smiles to all. Now go out and eat life up!!! :D Also, if you have sooooooo much experience, you know very well that moderating emotion is more challenging for some than others. Pointing out someone is too this or not enough of that isn’t ‘effective.’ I believe Anonymous wants to be effective. I know I want to be effective. Everyone needs help. No man is an island. Let’s help each other not point at each other and basically say “icky” blah, blah, blah. :) And, anyway... TTFN

  10. Is there a way to write trigger warnings so that they won't trigger people who are triggered by the words used in trigger warnings? ("Institutionalization," "sexual," "violence," "gas lighting," or _anything_ can be a trigger word.)

    Also, what can be done about the increasing fad or trend (among the able-bodied and able-minded) of misusing trigger warnings? Examples are discussed in this article: http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/trouble-teaching-rape-law


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