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It Doesn’t Get Better: Online Activism and TMAU Awareness

By Nat Lazakis / 2022-09-22
Posted in

A parent with the odor-related medical condition trimethylaminuria (TMAU) recently drew attention to an episode of the NetFlix series Word Party titled “The Search for the Stink Monster.” It reportedly teaches children “You’re never stinky as long as you have good hygiene.” By attributing body odor to bad hygiene, this production—which has 1 million views on YouTube alone—actively harms people with TMAU and related disabilities that affect at least 1% of the global population. Reflecting on how impacted communities could respond, I was reminded of how effectively activists with other disabilities used social media to protest ableist representations in the children’s film The Witches. Why, I wondered, can’t something like that be done to raise awareness about TMAU?

 

Social media platforms’ profit-driven failure to weed out hateful, abusive content has turned them into dangerous spaces for users from oppressed groups. Search engine algorithms have been found to reinforce stereotypes of disabled people as welfare scroungers or objects of pity. Olfactory hatred is a particularly vicious component of online ableism. It makes the internet a hostile environment for writers, like myself, and activists, struggling to show how common assumptions about odor negatively affect people with TMAU and similar conditions.

 

Most efforts to raise awareness about TMAU are met with indifference or abuse. So it’s surprising that many disabled activists, whose reflections on social media usage that I’ve encountered readily acknowledge ableist internet culture, present online activism as a promising way to change that culture. “Until we see ourselves represented in mainstream media and the business world we won’t feel like we truly belong. And when we don’t feel like we belong, we can’t feel pride,” explains one celebration of disabled social media influencers. Without discounting online ableism, many disabled social media users affirm their power to “promote awareness and activism.”

 

While individual acts of bullying and the more systemic ableist internet culture are identified as concerns, a dominant narrative seems to be emerging that 1) the more labor that activists invest in social media use, the higher the audience engagement and 2) online hostility is a manageable obstacle that disabled activists can be expected to navigate and survive through personal resilience techniques.

 

Both beliefs fly in the face of what disabled activists for TMAU and related conditions experience online. The powerful taboo that still surrounds bodily functions like odor even within the disability community, let alone outside of it, may explain our disappointing outcomes. Yet stigma makes it easy for this obstacle to go unmentioned, inviting the verdict that we’re just not trying hard enough.

 

Ableist assumptions about odor collude with internalized hatred, adding up to massive barriers that keep TMAU inconspicuous within activist spaces. These barriers cannot be surmounted by individual effort alone. I urge the disability community to avoid a triumphalist progress story which celebrates distinguished members’ accomplishments while leaving other members in obscurity.

 

Activists who want to fight stigma surrounding odor-related disabilities have two main options: use individual social media accounts or get the message out through platforms such as TV and other media. Search for TMAU on YouTube and you’ll bring up dozens of activists’ channels (e.g. Body Odor Sufferers, TMAU Up, etc.). Raw and uncensored, these allow individuals to talk about problems endemic to the TMAU community like discrimination, isolation, and suicide. However, the modest number of subscribers and the content of comments suggests that accounts like these are of interest mainly to other people within the TMAU community.

 

While they are important lifelines for connecting individuals going through similar experiences, they don’t reach the audiences whose ignorance and hatred fuel oppression. To engage mainstream audiences, activists have little choice but to pursue features in media such as TV and news articles. This strategy gains visibility for TMAU, but has the disadvantage of subjecting activists’ narratives to framing by gatekeepers like journalists and doctors, whose language can function to undermine the goal of destigmatization.

 

Even when gatekeepers don’t explicitly sabotage awareness-raising, activists discover that simply gaining access to a public forum is not sufficient to compel audiences to reexamine their ableist conceptual frameworks. Consider teen activist Alyssa Pursely’s 2021 appearance on Born Different. The show’s producers define it as an opportunity for people with disabilities and other differences to fight stigma. However, while the 3,500 comments left under the YouTube video included thoughtful ones, several negative themes recurred, revealing that an activist briefly given a singular platform cannot overpower deeply entrenched ableist assumptions like the following:

 

Odor-related disabilities result from inadequate self-care.

 

Reproducing a long tradition that subjects disabled people to accusations of fraud and heightened scrutiny, some comments shamed Alyssa for cooking French fries, implying that she doesn’t take care of herself. From the perspective of someone on a low-choline diet—followed by many people with TMAU—there is nothing “wrong” with French fries.

 

But commenters held her up to a higher standard. This is part of a trend of fat antagonistic and healthist discrimination which identifies human worth with supposedly “healthy” lifestyle choices. Scrutiny through the healthist lens invalidates disabled people’s experiences and needs by implicitly or explicitly blaming us for our conditions. It presents solidarity as something which can only be earned by the healthy.

 

Quite a few of the comments contain unsolicited advice to use the deodorant Lume. The multiple references are evidence of how profit-driven deodorant companies succeed in reaching audiences much more effectively than disability activists’ messages do. The former are uncritically accepted as reliable, while activists are assumed to lack awareness.

 

Taken in conjunction with the healthism described above, these comments express a refusal to dismantle ableist assumptions upon learning about an unfamiliar disability. Instead, disabled people are often presented as not doing enough to normalize themselves, implying that odorlessness is just one dietary change or one can of deodorant away.

 

Hatred of body odor is natural and unchangeable.

 

A few of the comments favorably contrasted olfactory hatred with other forms of hatred (like fat antagonism), presenting the former as natural. Others echoed this naturalization of exclusion by expressing inability or refusal to tolerate people with body odor.

 

Even comments which did not explicitly naturalize olfactory hatred advised Alyssa to wait for the medical establishment to discover a cure or to try Lume deodorant or other normalizing techniques. They seem to be rooted in the same core belief that odor-related hatred is non-negotiable.

 

There is no future for people with odor-related disabilities.

 

A large number of comments expressed a wish for Alyssa to have a “normal” future through the discovery of a “cure.” They reiterate the ableist identification of a future worth living with the absence of disability. Or, as Alison Kafer writes in Feminist, Queer, Crip, “The presence of disability…signals something else: a future that bears too many traces of the ills of the present to be desirable. Disability is a future no one wants.” In effect, they deny a future to people with TMAU and other physical disabilities unless they covet normalcy.

 

They situate Alyssa’s present self in a state of limbo. The concrete reality of bullying is mystified and displaced by superimposing a hypothetical future in which she would be socially acceptable if cured, reiterating that she is not acceptable now. This absolves the commenters of any accountability to stop the bullying. Comments like these show that simply providing forums like “Born Different” to educate audiences about TMAU is not enough; the new information is being added to preexisting ableist categories without dismantling them.

 

If an activist were to speak from a position of institutional authority—like a tenured professor—would they have a greater impact on changing audiences’ minds? Possibly. But systematic discrimination at every level of institutional gatekeeping prevents disabled people who are trying to change the hegemonic narrative about odor conditions from ever gaining such validation at significant levels. I’ve repeatedly gotten my hopes up when, after months of silence, a previous submission is accepted by peer reviewers, only to find the challenges that my work poses ignored after publication. I rarely elicit ableist comments like Alyssa did. Instead, I get complete silence.

 

Leaving it to individual activists to educate the public is not just ineffective, it also puts some at severe emotional risk. Most people with TMAU experience intense mental distress from past or ongoing harassment. As one YouTuber explains, “Suffering with this condition can really have you feeling less than a human. It can take away some parts of your humanity, just because of the strife that you encounter on a day-to-day basis from people who just find your being, just your being, offensive.” Because ignorance about TMAU is the norm, people with odor-related disabilities have no physical safe spaces to recover from harassment.

 

One complaint from a neighbor, coworker, or stranger can result in eviction from rental housing, termination from a job, or removal from public spaces. Online forums and closed social media groups offer virtual refuge, but the physical body remains vulnerable to the omnipresent threat of being defined as a nuisance and spatially excluded. Posts about suicidal ideation and attempts are extremely frequent on TMAU forums. Speaking publicly about bullying invites exposure to more bullying, which could make activists’ mental distress spiral out of control. 

 

I’ve tried to describe a frustrating impasse reached by myself and other people educating about TMAU. We aspire to be effective like prominent activists representing other disabilities, and we’re assured that the internet is an ideal venue for such destigmatizing work. Yet we’re not getting the right people’s attention, and we’re left to blame ourselves. Perhaps one way to make sense of this impasse is to draw on comparable experiences within the queer community.

 

For example, the progress narrative contained in the “It Gets Better” project launched by sex advice columnist Dan Savage promised bullied queer teens that homophobic discrimination was no longer a serious obstacle to upward social mobility. This influential message was intended to uplift but, as critics pointed out, it also functions to obscure unequal distribution of opportunities by centering the experiences of white, credentialed, cis gay men. 

 

As disabled activists for TMAU (and other taboo disabilities) who are struggling with self-blame for failing to match the accomplishments of prominent peers, we have much to learn from queer critiques of the “It Gets Better” project. While elation at the success of individual disabled influencers cannot be equated with the way that queer progress narratives privilege “an exceptional class of aspirational gay citizens at the expense of others,” as Jasbir Puar states, several similarities are worth noting. In both queer and disabled progress rhetoric, one subgroup represents its success as attainable to other members of the group through personal initiative, obscuring unequal access to resources. Both progress narratives ignore how the most abjected face much more virulent and frequently intersectional forms of stigma.

 

In both, the achievements of prominent community members are misleadingly presented as sources of comfort and inspiration to other, more disadvantaged members. Both mystify the path to success. Advances made by disabled, queer, and other social justice movements can only be meaningful to people harmed by olfactory discrimination if leaders use their platforms to include references to it, or to uplift TMAU-related activists’ efforts. One recent, hopeful example of such education is influencer and author Blair Imani’s video which teaches that “oppression stinks more than any body.” 

 

It’s not necessary to be a public figure to make a difference. You can dismantle olfactory stereotypes that are encountered in commonplace interactions. For instance, if a friend says “That guy smells like he hasn’t showered in months,” you could point out, “Maybe he has TMAU. People with TMAU, a metabolic condition, can have a noticeable smell despite showering as often as we do.” If kids are a part of your life and you encounter a deodorant ad, teach them that odor-related bullying is as unacceptable as other kinds of bullying. These are just a couple of small-scale yet important acts that challenge the pervasive nature of olfactory discrimination.

 

My hope is that society moves away from a flawed morality in which recognition of individuals’ complexity and worthiness is contingent upon conforming to the norm of odorlessness. One thing is certain though: given the millions of corporate dollars poured into odor-shaming ads and mainstream culture’s deep saturation with their hateful messages, much work remains ahead.

 

 

 

Nat Lazakis (he/they) is an independent researcher who focuses on embodiment and place. His disability study Body Odor and Biopolitics: Characterizing Smell in Neoliberal America (McFarland, 2021) documents socioeconomic barriers faced by people with Trimethylaminuria and related medical conditions. You can find out more about them on their website.

The post It Doesn’t Get Better: Online Activism and TMAU Awareness appeared first on Rooted in Rights.

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Meg Grigal & Cate Weir | Inclusive Higher Education for People with Intellectual Disabilities

By MCIE / 2022-09-22
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For this episode, I speak with Meg Grigal and Cate Weir from Think College about why it is important for individuals with intellectual disabilities to have the option to go to college. We discuss what inclusive post-secondary education programs for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities really look like. And how the data shows that these programs are successful, with learners getting jobs after graduation at three times the rate of the national average. 

Thanks for listening, and if you haven’t already, please give us a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ review on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

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Credits

Think Inclusive is written, edited, and sound designed by Tim Villegas, and is produced by MCIE.

Orginal music by Miles Kredich.

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In the Stairwell, We Will Die

By Denarii Grace / 2022-09-16
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During my sophomore year of college, I wrote my will. That year was filled with trauma. I’d noticed a constant ache in my lower back that soon trickled down my legs and into my feet. They started to look like mountains with peaked arches and small toe pebbles that tucked beneath their surface. I skipped many classes so that I could visit neurosurgeons who eventually diagnosed me with a rare, non-fatal neurological condition called Tethered Cord Syndrome.

 

When my boyfriend learned that I was drafting my will with a lawyer, he panicked, thinking that my disability was the threat. I told him, “I am not afraid that my body will kill me. I am afraid that I will die at the hands of my inaccessible school.”

 

This fear wasn’t rooted in some anxious fantasy, but in the harsh reality faced by all disabled students. Like many institutions, my art school did not have an accessible fire escape plan. When I asked how I was supposed to carry my service dog, manual wheelchair, and my weak, wobbly legs down the concrete steps, I was told to wait patiently and they would try not to forget me. So, as instructed, I waited and watched as the able-bodied students rushed past me to safety. I spent this time contemplating my own death and the death of the one disabled professor who sat in the stairwell with me.

 

No one ever came to get us.

 

Throughout the rest of the school year, this fear was affirmed as I was persistently met with physical, cultural, and social barriers. Sometimes my wheelchair and I would get stuck in the bathroom stall. I’d pray someone would stumble upon the scene to help while also hoping no one found me stuck with my pants down and ankles pinned between the toilet and my wheelchair.

 

After critiques, where we spent four hours at a time giving constructive criticism about each other’s art, the Disabled and Black students would silently shuffle into my dorm room. We’d independently critique each other’s artworks because our in-class discussions were led by a white, non-disabled faculty member who bluntly said that our artwork celebrating our cultures would not make any sense to people in what they called the “real world.” When the elevator broke down, I was forced to miss classes because the school neglected to put a backup plan in place despite my pleas. As I turned to wheel out of the school, the security guard shouted, “Why don’t you just get up and walk?”

 

Every student experiences emotional and physical tolls in college: student debt, overbooked schedules, and fast-approaching deadlines. But everyday stress is amplified for the Disabled student who, on top of all that, also experiences hostile inaccessibility, ableism, and a lack of representation. They are expected to ignore their bodies’ needs in order to fulfill the ableist demands of their institution.

 

Because inaccessibility hindered my daily life, I spent most of my free time begging the administration for equal access. I felt like I was going to war with an opponent who refused to fight fair. Administration made little effort to address the inaccessibility that surged through the walls of the institution, claiming to be restricted by the school’s historic building status or lack of funding.

 

This forced the responsibility of accessibility and change onto the shoulders of disabled students. There were good professors who would let me leave early when they saw my health declining and others who would remove the chair from the desk before I arrived so that my wheelchair could smoothly slide in. They made the school year bearable but to settle for bearable is no way to thrive.

 

Occasionally, I’d win a battle like successfully getting a ramp, but it never outweighed the stark reality and overwhelming fear that consumed me: I could die here. Growing up my mother always said that I could endure pain simply by putting mind over matter. When I started to feel the emotional and physical toll of attending an inaccessible institution, I thought that maybe I wasn’t strong enough—in fact, it’s the system that’s broken.

 

A crucial way to fix our nation’s inaccessible school system is to share our experiences, to refuse to remain silent. We must amplify our stories because our rebellion disrupts the pattern. We must celebrate the rich values of disability art and culture and recognize that inaccessible colleges force out passionate disabled students who bring critical perspectives to an otherwise non-disabled discussion.

 

We must redefine our approach because the needs of disabled people are not “special,” our needs are human. At the bare minimum, disabled students deserve safe, accessible, and equal access to the education we’re guaranteed by law.

 

This upcoming school year I have decided to transfer to a new college. I do so begrudgingly, as I won’t be graduating from my dream school. But I try to remind myself that this dream school doesn’t even have a ramp to their stage for my graduation. They never expected me to survive there in the first place.

 

 

Oaklee Thiele (she/her) is a disability rights activist, public speaker, and protest artist whose work chronicles life from the disabled perspective and addresses systemic discrimination within academic and artistic institutions. She is the co-founder and head artist for the My Dearest Friends Project, an international art collaboration that archives, illustrates, and amplifies the stories of disabled individuals.

The post In the Stairwell, We Will Die appeared first on Rooted in Rights.

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Jani Kozlowski | Early Childhood Inclusive Education

By MCIE / 2022-09-08
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For this episode, I talk with Jani Kozlowski, author of the book, Every Child Can Fly: An Early Childhood Educator’s Guide to Inclusion. We discuss why inclusion matters in early childhood education programs. And how we can prepare educators to create inclusive learning environments for all learners. 

Thanks for listening, and if you haven’t already, please give us a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ review on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

***

Click here for the transcript of this episode.

Resources

Melissa McCullough | What Inclusive Preschool Services Look Like

Every Child Can Fly: An Early Childhood Educator’s Guide to Inclusion

ECTA Indicators of High-Quality Inclusion

Early Childhood Inclusion Videos

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Credits

Think Inclusive is written, edited, and sound designed by Tim Villegas, and is produced by MCIE.

Orginal music by Miles Kredich.

Riverside.fm was used to record this interview. Want to get started for free?

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*Think Inclusive is listener-supported. We may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through links in the show notes.

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Dr. Ross Greene | Using Collaborative and Proactive Solutions to Support the Behavior of All Learners

By MCIE / 2022-08-25
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For this episode, I talk with Dr. Ross Greene, author of the books Lost at School and Raising Human Beings. We discuss what schools are getting right and wrong about supporting learners with challenging behavior and an alternative lens for educators to view behavior in all learners. 

Thanks for listening, and if you haven’t already, please give us a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ review on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

***

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Credits

Think Inclusive is written, edited, and sound designed by Tim Villegas, and is produced by MCIE.

Orginal music by Miles Kredich.

Support Think Inclusive by becoming a patron!

This episode is sponsored by
· Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app

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Disregard for Disabled Lives in a Pandemic

By F.I. Goldhaber / 2022-08-11
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One aspect of the pandemic made life more accessible for those of us whose disabilities limit our ability to participate in cultural, educational, and employment opportunities. People with disabilities and those who are immunocompromised, parents who can’t afford childcare, folks for whom traveling endangers them, and many other groups benefited from the measures taken once the magnitude of COVID-19 became apparent in the U.S.

 

As events transitioned to virtual-only in 2020, many of those groups suddenly had access to concerts, classes, employment, and participation in decision-making by their local and state governments. Disabled journalists could cover events—including press conferences, trials, and other proceedings—without travel cost in time, money, or spoons. For two years, people with disabilities and other restrictions weren’t just being accommodated, we were included.

 

Those events didn’t switch to virtual because new tools suddenly became available. The tools, including technology, have been available for decades. In 1998, as Communications Manager for a Council of Governments, I coordinated venue logistics for a day-long program with 13 speakers. We used audio/visual equipment to mitigate a room design that would have prevented everyone from seeing and hearing the presentation. The only accommodations missing were an ASL interpreter, an internet connection, and a site to host streaming. The pandemic merely forced governments, individuals, and organizations to use what’s already available; they could no longer exclude people with disabilities and other limitations without excluding everyone else.

 

The pandemic is far from over. More than one million people are dead in the U.S. alone. That is .29 percent of the population—almost four times the rate of the entire world, which has lost .079 percent of the population. Hundreds more die every day. Tens of millions of children have lost a parent or other caregiver. An estimated 56 million U.S. residents potentially face permanent disability from Long COVID, more than 7.5 percent of the population. Transmission and case numbers are going up, although no government entity is accurately reporting the increases.

 

Despite this devastating reality, privileged people, who saw inclusion as an inconvenience, are actively working to take unprecedented accessibility away. Many believe that, because meeting in person is an option again, participation of those unable to attend should no longer be considered in logistical planning. While giving lip service to those unable to attend in-person—whether because of the pandemic or previously existing restrictions—priority has shifted to alleviating Zoom fatigue. In reality, allowing in-person events does not preclude offering interactive video/audio options to all who need or want them.

 

However, offering online options requires some cost regarding staffing and, depending on the venue, additional equipment. All levels of the U.S. government—once it was documented that the pandemic disproportionately impacts those already marginalized—have made it very clear that they give more weight to the prosperity of corporations than the lives of residents. This is exemplified by Rochelle P. Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, applauding a disease that she erroneously believed only kills those with pre-existing conditions and disabilities. Most public officials have completely abandoned mitigation attempts. Given that, it’s not surprising that few organizations will make the effort or expend funds to maintain inclusivity. This serves to undergird the critical need for effective, compassionate government that prioritizes the needs of all people.

 

Those of us who are marginalized and familiar with history are only too aware that a strong contingent of people in the U.S. fights to return this country to the days of its founding. For too long, the freedom to pursue life, liberty, and happiness was extended only to property-owning white males. That contingent and their co-conspirators work diligently to eliminate any additional rights fought for since the Constitution was written.

 

As in all genocidal, supremacist projects, rights are being stripped from the most vulnerable first. They almost always start with racialized, queer, and disabled people, often including those disabled as a result of epidemics and pandemics. Nationalists and supremacists begin eliminating human rights strategically, with exclusion of oppressed people from voting, jobs, healthcare, and exercising their Constitutional rights. They also accelerate the exclusion of marginalized children from school, sports, and access to books and information. These exclusions are often presented in ways designed to seem innocuous to those who are not impacted and choose to remain oblivious to the suffering of others.

 

Today, those actively working to exclude disadvantaged populations from continued participation have myriad justifications for why full inclusion isn’t possible. However, they deliberately ignore how pandemic protocols eliminated many of those excuses. As events migrate away from online-only, rather than embracing hybrid options some organizations are working to further ostracize marginalized populations. Many are eliminating everything but in-person events; they won’t even make video recordings available to consume at a later time.

 

I would consider offering events with an option for real-time online access fully inclusive; providing recordings so people can watch later is the bare minimum accommodation. Providing neither option is irrefutably exclusionary. With millions of people newly disabled and more whose medical conditions preclude any exposure to COVID-19, at a minimum events should be recorded and made available online.

 

Inclusive planning may require significant effort and resources on the part of event organizers, but it’s very possible. I regularly participate in hybrid meetings via computer. I also have access to much more, including conferences with hundreds of attendees and numerous learning and networking opportunities all designed to include everyone.

 

While many people suffered from isolation brought about by pandemic protocols, others suddenly had access to entire worlds that once excluded them. Those who benefited from the ability to participate in once inaccessible events will not willingly forfeit the opportunities offered. It behooves planners to take into account accommodating those unable to attend events in person, especially as this group grows larger with millions disabled by Long COVID. Doing so not only reduces the possibility of ADA complaints, it also increases the pool of those available to contribute to their events’ goals.

 

For months, many institutions willingly employed the tools necessary to make events accessible to anyone who wanted to participate in them. There is no reason, except deliberate, systemic exclusion, to stop using those tools. Claims that the cost of accessibility is prohibitive or that they lack resources further demonstrates how little event organizers for governments and larger organizations care about listening to and including those with disabilities.

 

F.I. Goldhaber’s (they/them) words capture people, places, and politics with a photographer’s eye and a poet’s soul. Paper, plastic, electronic, and audio magazines, books, newspapers, calendars, broadsides, and street signs display their poetry, fiction, and essays. Left Fork Press will publish “What Color Is Your Privilege?”a collection of political statements in poetic formthis September. You can learn more about them on their website.

The post Disregard for Disabled Lives in a Pandemic appeared first on Rooted in Rights.

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Dr. Mona Delahooke | Beyond Behavior Charts and Positive Reinforcement

By MCIE / 2022-08-11
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For this episode, I talk with Dr. Mona Delahooke, author of the books, Brain-Body Parenting and Beyond Behaviors. We discuss the neuroscience of behavior, how parents and educators can move beyond behavior charts and positive reinforcement, and a new way to look at using the check-in procedure with learners.

Thanks for listening, and if you haven’t already, please give us a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ review on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

***

Click here for a transcript of this episode.

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Credits

Think Inclusive is written, edited, and sound designed by Tim Villegas, and is produced by MCIE.

Orginal music by Miles Kredich.

Support Think Inclusive by becoming a patron!

This episode is sponsored by
· Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app

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Mazey Eddings | Neurodiverse Representation in Books

By MCIE / 2022-07-28
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For this episode, we talk with Mazey Eddings, the neurodiverse author of A Brush with Love, a romance novel set in dental school. 

We talk about why she wanted to write neurodiverse characters in her books, how she sees herself in the characters of A Brush with Love, and what she hopes her readers take away from the book on how to support people living with anxiety.

Thanks for listening, and if you haven’t already, please give us a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ review on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

***

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Credits

Think Inclusive is written, edited, and sound designed by Tim Villegas, and is produced by MCIE.

Orginal music by Miles Kredich.

Support Think Inclusive by becoming a patron!

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Disability Invisibility and Stigma and Representation and Inclusion

By DNW Contributors / 2022-07-20
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  • We have to address the lack of representation of people with disabilities in arts, music, dance, cinema, theater, and media.
  • We are not visible and when we are featured, we are often shown negatively stereotyped.
  • We are depicted as objects of pity or as superheroes who have achieved great successes.

Puneet Singh Singhal is the neurodivergent founder of 123ssstart


Both of these scenarios are not what represents the majority of disabled people. Due to lack of awareness, there is a stigma attached to disabilities and certainly, there are misconceptions around how we are supposed to live our lives.

There is a need for a balanced portrayal of disabled people as individuals and disability as part of everyday lives. Different modes of media can play a more constructive role in making society inclusive for all and successfully integrating disabled people in all aspects of societal lives.

Through humor, retrospection and empathy, we can address the most difficult questions around disability and initiate conversations we as a society generally avoid.

  • Our goal is to create a more empathetic and patient society which is only possible by spreading awareness and sensitizing people on everyday challenges disabled people face.
  • We want to strongly imply that disability doesn’t mean less abled.
  • We have to change the perceptions of disabled and non-disabled towards disability for thorough and real inclusion
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BONUS: Cheryl Green & Thomas Reid | Pod Access Survey

By MCIE / 2022-07-20
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Hi, Y’all!

My friends, Cheryl and Thomas (who are superb podcasters BTW), are taking over the Think Inclusive feed for a few minutes today to tell you about a special survey project they are doing.

With support from the Disability Visibility Project, Cheryl Green and Thomas Reid are gathering information about disabled podcasters and podcasts focused on disability and accessibility (or “disability podcasts” for short). 

They will use this information to develop an online listing of podcasts and resource for disabled podcasters to find each other and find audiences.

Awesome right?

Here is the link if you are interested in taking the survey.

Here is a transcript of the promo from Cheryl and Thomas.

Thanks for listening, and we will catch you next week in the feed with another episode of Think Inclusive.

– Tim

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