holycripitsacrapple:

Just told Wikipedia off cuz they said that Jason Street from Friday Night Lights is a paraplegic after his accident. Bull shit! He’s a quadriplegic, not a paraplegic.

I’m rather proud of the fact that unlike the a.b. (able bodied) who wrote that bull shit, I know the difference between a quad and a para. And dear Tumblr, Jason Street was not a para!

Take that Wikipedia! 

Oh god…I’m such a fucking nerd/dork. And damn proud of that and proud of my wheels. 

Hooah.

I hate being told I’m not a quad.  I guess my doctors don’t know as much about spinal cord injuries as random guy at the store does.  I guess I have been mistaken about my diagnosis for 13 years.  It’s a good thing that people who know nothing about the nervous system are around to set me straight.

(Source: crippledbrat)

Sexual Aspects of Disability- Stanley H. Ducharme

fuckthedisabled:

Social/historical attitudes towards disability and sexuality:

“For people with disabilities, the acceptance of sexuality as a justifiable and sanctioned area of rehabilitation has been much more controversial (3). Historically, people with disabilities received little information on sexuality and were often regarded as nonsexual and incapable of an intimate relationship. This misperception not only has persisted in the general population but has been equally prevalent in the medical community as well. In spite of the similarities in sexual functioning for people with and those without disabilities, the tendency has been to emphasize the differences between the two groups and to view people with disablility as being sexually impaired (4). Obviously, this tendency goes much deeper than issues of sexuality and is a reflection of society’s general discomfort of people with disabilities. In reality, the sexual rights and responsibilities of people with disabilities are identical to those of all other people. Everyone, regardless of disability, has the right to sexual information and expression and the right to develop the fullest potential in all aspects of life.”

Sexuality:

“Sexuality is the integration of the physical, emotional, intellectual, and social aspects of an individual’s personality that express maleness or femaleness. Sexuality is an expression of the total personality evident in everything done by a person (7). Interactions with others, personal hygiene, speech, dress, and expressions of affection are all an important part of sexuality. Given this broad definition, sexuality may be regarded as an avenue toward intimacy and may be directly or indirectly affected by the presence of a disability.

Development of Sexuality/Sexual Identity:

“The first three stages of development represent infancy and childhood. They reflect the achievement of trust, autonomy through mobility, and the ability to explore the environment. Even at these early stages in life, sexual behaviors and curiosity are quite typical and expected. This is true for children with and without disabilities. As individuals move through life, they encounter a number of tasks set by their cultural milieu and by themselves as biologic entities. When disability occurs, not only are the current developmental tasks threatened, but the persons, at least temporarily, regress to an earlier stage of development. This regression has broad implications for an individual’s psychological and sexual adjustment… Thus, for a person with a disability, a healthy sexual adjustment and the ability to achieve intimacy depend on successful resolution of the developmental tasks at the time of injury or onset of illness. The developmental process can be further complicated for young people with gay and lesbian orientations. More than simply a matter of having a same-sex partner, gay and lesbian identity is similar in scope to ethnic or racial identity, involving identification with the values of a discrete subculture (32). The process of forming a gay or lesbian identity evolves in stages from confusion and conflict around the emerging awareness of the same-sex urges to acceptance. For the person with a disability, the presence of homosexual issues can further complicate an already difficult sexual adjustment.”

Sexual Adjustment:

Successful adjustment depends on the recognition that choice is still available and is influenced by many factors such as age at onset, quality of social supports, physical health, gender, and type of illness or injury. Successful sexual adjustment also requires the same gradual, and sometimes painful, emotional process. Losses need to be grieved so that the remaining strengths can be developed and nurtured. Because of different personality styles, however, not everyone completes this difficult adjustment. After onset of a traumatic disability, individuals frequently go through a period of reduced sexual drive or performance. Others go through a period of sexual acting out, presumably to validate their survival and sexual identity. However, substantial numbers of people fail to resume an active sex life after injury because of misinformation, problems of adjustment, or shame regarding body image and function… To the extent that a person with a disability can learn to value his or her new sexual abilities, as opposed to trying to regain the same sexual expressions that existed before the injury, and to establish a positive level of communication, the person will achieve a satisfying sexual adjustment. These adjustments, however, often come slowly after a period of intense grieving and sadness. People with disabilities who achieve success in their sexual functioning often do so because of increased communication and a willingness to experiment with developing romance and intimacy as well as technique.

Sexual Desire:

Inhibited sexual desire is a highly prevalent dysfunction, affecting possibly up to 50% of sex cases seen in clinical settings (42–44). Although no data currently exist, this figure is probably higher for people with disabilities. Now known as hypoactive sexual desire disorder, it is characterized by persistently low or absent sexual fantasies and desire for sexual activity not caused by substance abuse or a primary psychiatric disorder. The sudden onset of disability or the more chronic issues of malaise, pain, fatigue, or stress can contribute to decreased libido (45). Low desire after onset of a traumatic disability is, for the most part, of limited duration…The level of depression after disability occurs may in fact be the single greatest factor in determining the level of desire for sexual activities. Depressions associated with disability are complex medical problems that require an in depth evaluation and treatment plan. Often a psychiatric or psychological consultation may be warranted. In other instances, the precipitating factors responsible for the loss of sexual desire may be less apparent. Additional effort will be required to unravel the chain of events responsible for diminishing the libido. In addition to traumatic disability, many chronic illnesses and medications can result in inhibited sexual desire, either temporarily or permanently

These are all excerpts from “Sexual Aspects of Disability” - Stanley H. Ducharme, I tried to summarize (in bold) the more significant information for those of you intimated by large blocks of text, but I would strongly recommend reading the entire passage. You can do so here: http://www.stanleyducharme.com/pdf/sexual_aspects_pd.pdf

I think that the ball get’s dropped big time on sexual adjustment.  I think disability sex ed should be mandatory at the onset of a disability.  So much of how we as a society view the importance of sex in a relationships is affected by this.  We should teach the newly disabled how things are done and just how great they still are.  The sex talk taboo in the western world really hurts the disabled.  It affects in a big way our future happiness. And what is sad about this is we can fix that problem if we weren’t so embarrassed about sex.

(via fuckthedisabled-deactivated2013)

Talking sex with a cripple.

Sex is a topic that seems to get a lot of attention.  Though add disabled in front of sex and it tends to get avoided.  I suppose this is not so surprising considering people tend to not like confronting things that make them uncomfortable.  It has been my experience that simply being a cripple makes a whole lot of people uncomfortable.   Add that to the prude attitude that is rampant in the US where I live regarding sex and mentioning that the disabled are still sexual beings becomes a rude conversation. Unfortunately, if you happen to be disabled and you want to have a sex life you get the fun task of confronting this social bias.  Oh and not just those that are disabled have to confront this bias the people they are involved with get to as well.

I remember an incident when I was younger and new to my injury and crippled status that I had this bias pointed out to me in no uncertain terms.  I was with my girlfriend at the time.  We were waiting for someone at the mall minding our own business when two guys seeing our interaction with each other, my leaning my head against her while she messed with my hair, couldn’t help themselves asking my girlfriend if she had a boyfriend.  Two things I couldn’t help but learn from this: 1, some people seem to fundamentally lack manners, and 2, even while engaging in a public display of affection a cripple couldn’t possibly be relationship or sexy time material.  Obviously this isn’t true, and I owe a lot of my current self esteem to my then girlfriend and the offended face and response she gave them.  Having someone who wasn’t afraid of me being a quadriplegic at such and early time in my life on wheels helped me get passed my own fears about sex.  

I didn’t have to accept the status society tries to place me in, nor the status society places people who find me attractive in either.  I still have to deal with it of course, but it hinders me less because I don’t get in my own way about it.  I was willing to flirt like I normally would have, and I believed the positive responses I had received.  People are probably always going to view me differently but not all of them. Some even like the things that make me unlike the ambulatory.  

I think that the confidence I got from not being shunned and the experience I got from not being shunned by my girlfriend at the time helped me in my love life after.  Everyone has different armor against social pressures.  In this case mine is pretty thick.  It’s thin in other areas I’ll admit, but when it comes to those I find attractive it’s pretty thick.  Which is why I have such a great lady.  Yes she did find me but I like to think it was my flirting skills that won the day.  Fearless in the face of my own sexyness.  That’s the best advice I can give, besides maybe a few pointers to cripple guys whom are less experienced between the sheets, that I can give.  Always put yourself up.  If there is something about yourself that you like let people know.  Being humble is not your friend.  And the act of the sexy time activities is within your reach no matter how much difficulty you might have with mobility.  There are ways, and skills, that can get you and your partner where you need to go.  But perhaps that’s another post.

Sex… this should be interesting.

I’ve been seeing a lot of posts this month on sex and how sexuality gets treated regarding the disabled.  I will make a more formal post about it real soon but I’d just like to put this out there first before I do so.  It is very common for society to see people with any kind of visible disability, physical or cognitive, as non-sexual.  Unless said person identifies as asexual, society is as wrong as it can get on this topic.  Even when it gets mentioned that we are sexual beings it is looked at in a most patronizing way.  Instead of griping about this though I thought I’d simply start a dialog in a more informative way.  As a cripple who’s had and still does have a very satisfying sex life I might be able to inform some peoples bias.  Perhaps a visible non fetishized example is a step in the right direction, or at least that is my hope.

Any and all questions will be answered to the best of my ability and privacy standards of the other people involved, so ask away.  Look for a post on this tomorrow to get this whole thing started.

Happy blogging tumblr! 

holycripitsacrapple:

Love the way they filmed this, hilarious and true! :)

Spreading the awesome!

(Source: crippledbrat)

Mini Golf

Not the most accessible activity by a long shot.  Lucky for me I have a great family and some awesome friends that can hoist my crippy butt through the course.  The accessible course had stairs.  Stairs…. let that sink in for a minute.  Done? OK good.

I had a blast though.  I even came in second right behind my buddy Richard, and my Pop was in the best mood I’ve seen him in in a long time.  

I think its funny just how unaware people are about how accessible the world is not.  When a place of business thinks stairs are accessible for people in wheelchairs you might think that the person who put up that sign is a french fry short of a happy meal, but you’d be wrong.  That guy is the norm not the exception.  To people who get it, i.e. people who have been made familiar with the needs of disabled peoples of one sort or another, it all seems like a no brainer that the course is not accessible. For people who just have old grand parents that have a parking placard, a wider mini golf course is now deemed accessible.  It’s a cognative bias that can only be over come by exposure.

That’s what these blogs are for. =) I see you out there cripple boggers! I read you, I’m routing for you, and I like your style.

Until next time Happy blogging!

To Push or Not To Push

So when is it polite to push someone in a wheel chair and when is it not?  There are situations where its not but usually only when it is a person’s own preference to not be pushed.  In most cases I’d say it is entirely except able to push someone you know who is in a chair.  Though if you’re not sure asking is always OK to do, they will tell you if it’s alright.  If this person is someone you’re in a relationship with its perfectly OK to do pretty much always.  Basically if you’re going the same direction as the person you know in a chair it saves their shoulders some  wear and tear for you to push them.

But, when is it appropriate to push someone you don’t know?  First off never just start pushing a random stranger always ask first.  Because they might not be going where you think they are and then it just gets messy.  So here are things to look for when a push will be most appreciated.  

Big hills.  I can’t tell you how tired I get trying to push my crippy self up hills.  Gravity is a real pain in the butt.  On your feet you can stand still pretty much like normal.  On wheels you are constantly fighting rolling back down.  So if you see someone in a chair going up a hill its a really nice thing to do to ask if they would like help.  Unless I want the work out I always say yes.  It gets me to the top faster, saves my shoulders some stress, and also lets someone feel good because they did a nice thing for someone.

Rough terrain.  Grass, bumpy dirt paths, cobble roads, slanted broken sidewalks, are just a few terrains that make pushing myself difficult.  I remember being in New York and having to deal with sidewalks that were like rolling a hill, it makes one shoulder do all the work and you can’t keep that up for very long.  So please help us out on those terrains it will make our lives much easier.

Heavy Loads.  If someone in a chair has a lot of stuff to carry its not a bad thing if you ask to help.  Just like everyone else who is carrying something heavy or just has a whole lot of stuff to carry, we don’t mind assistance.

Basically you just have to keep one thing in mind, if you have the ability to help someone its polite to ask if they would like help.  Sometimes people feel that pushing or being pushed hands control away from the person in the chair.  And, maybe it does to an extent but that I feel is a matter of false pride.  If help makes your day easier not accepting it is silly.  It certainly doesn’t make you less of a person to accept help.  In many ways it makes you a more mature person to be able to accept help.  As long as you don’t try and move someone against their will pushing someone in a chair is a polite thing to do.  You can even ask if they’d like a push even on flat,easy to roll on ground.  It’s like holding a door open, or getting them a refill on a drink because you were already going into the kitchen.  You ask them and they will say yes or no.  If the person you ask politely if they need a push responds rudely or offended just remember that its their problem and you did nothing wrong.

Until next post, happy Tumbling.

Got a question?

Lumpers and Splitters

The titled isn’t just a phrase for how different anthropologists define hominids it is also a very good way to describe the language I use when talking about the disabled and the politically correct way.  The Lumpers are very PC when refering to pretty much any group.  I simply have more experience with PC language referring to people with disabilities.  When PC language hit the disabled it did something that complicates my life, and the lives of others, by taking the diversity of why we’re all disabled away.  I get referred too in the same way as someone with mental problems or Parkinson’s disease or even an amputee.  This is a big problem because I don’t have any of those problems and therefore I have different needs and considerations.  While an amputee of the legs might be wheelchair bound that is where the similarities end.  They can pee without equipment, empty their bowels without help and don’t have to worry about autonomicdisreflexia if there is something wrong with their body.  Someone with a brain injury is even more different, or severe burn victims.  Yet we all get the same considerations in the public as someone who is obese: a bigger bathroom with hand rails, ramps and closer parking spots.

Lumping all disabilities into one title has only allowed for real disability issues to be over looked.  I’m not saying society has to bend to me in every way, that would be incredibly unrealistic, but there would be vast improvements if more people understood the needs of people besides the elderly.  Take the three examples I mentioned: bathrooms, ramps, and parking spots.  I don’t need hand rails at all.  If I use a public bathroom I don’t even get onto the toilet.  I self cathetrize into a urinal and never leave my chair.  I need a small shelf to set my stuff on, and enough room to fit inside the stall and be able to close the door, that is it.  Ramps aren’t needed by pretty much anyone not in a chair and in general tend to be too small for two people to use at the same time.  A minor gripe for sure but, when you get half way up and meet someone coming down it gets old in a hurry.  Parking spots are a very annoying issue for me personally.  I often find I have to wait for a long time because there aren’t enough.  And what really bugs me is I don’t need them because they’re close, I need them because they’re wide.  If I park in a normal spot and someone parks next to me I can’t get back into my car.  I don’t care if I park in the back  of the lot as long as I can get into my car when I need too.  There are people who need close spots who, most of the time, don’t need a wide spot.  Every time I go to a busy place like the movies or costco the parking lots have spaces in the back that are empty.  No one waits for an hour to park if there are spots open, except me, because I’d have to wait for the person who went into the place after me to leave so I can get back into my car.  Which is very frustraiting because I know there are people parked in wide spots that don’t need the extra width.  A few wide spots in the back wouldn’t be too much to ask for I think.  Especially because people avoid using them unless they have no other choice.  I’d use them all the time because I don’t need to be close

It’s partly why I refer to myself as crippled.  Calling me differently-abled or handicapable tells people nothing about me other than I’m different.  It’s too non-specific.  Which brings me to another point.  One that affects me in much more serious ways.  If we use the same language to refer to every disability, people tend to think of us in the same way.  While the idea behind PC language is to minimize offense, people thinking I have slow mental capacity because the only other handicapped person they know has Downs Syndrome is way more offensive.  Not that to have Downs means they’re less than I am as a person, but I shouldn’t be treated like I’m slow unless I am.  I had a councilor who worked for the disabled student services not believe my SAT scores because a person in a wheelchair couldn’t score that high.  This is someone who should know these differences and didn’t and I have to deal with people who are rightfully ignorant everyday.  I think this is something most people don’t understand.  They can’t see the difference and those who do understand the difference don’t see that many people have this problem.  I ended up going to the dean taking a placement test and having him put me in the appropriate classes because, I couldn’t get into them while that councilor had me pegged for being mentally deficient.  What is really funny is when I talked about this subject in the English class that the dean had to personally place me in because of this problem, none of my classmates believed there really was such a problem because they all new I wasn’t mentally challenged.  

That’s the problem with PC language, it allows everyone to avoid these issues and pretend they don’t exist.  It is really strange to have people tell me I can’t call myself crippled because its rude.  How is accurately describing my situation rude?  I made a video about this a long time ago and I got a comment that still kind of drives me nuts.

Folks got allergic to “crippled” because they got allergic to “cripple,” and that was for a good reason. Because to call a crippled person a cripple suggests that the person’s problem is the definition of the person. You may be crippled but you’re not a cripple, you’re a human being.

I’ll call you what you want to be called. Unless you really need to be told something about yourself that you’re denying. (Which still leaves open the question of whether it’s my duty to tell you.)

Nice vid.

The first part, while well meaning, avoids the issue all together.  Any language that separates a group from another will create an err of egocentrism.  Especially if the difference between the groups is, not only physical appearance, but physical ability and health.  Why should I have to deal with more issues by people thinking I’m mentally slow because other able bodied people feel uncomfortable saying paralysis or crippled. Cripple, Downs patient, burn victim, head injury patient, mental retardation, none of these are rude if the person is or has the ailment.  It tells people the things they need to know to interact with them.  You’re not being rude if you call me a cripple.  I am a cripple.  It doesn’t do me, or anyone else, any good to deny it.  And to assume that I need you personally to tell me I can’t walk or feel my body from the chest down is incredibly offensive.  This person not only couldn’t step out of their own bias long enough to consider my position but, made it my job to not remind them I can’t walk.  That’s a fail at treating me like an equal person if I ever saw it.  It’s also why I’ll continue to talk about this subject.  If it’s going to change I’m going to have to remind people that being a cripple isn’t always down hill.  Sometimes it’s uphill both ways.  So help a cripple out and be a splitter.  I’m sick of convincing people I’m not dumb.

Until next time Tumblrites, happy blogging.

Curious? Then ask.

Why This blog exists

As I settle into writing this blog I will have one main focus, allowing people to learn and become familiar with what it’s like to know or be with someone in a wheelchair. Most every where I go I am the only person who is in a chair and people always seem to be curious. They maybe curious but, it’s difficult to ask a random person on the street personal questions which is where this blog comes in. I will be talking about my experiences, things I notice and, answering any question you all might have. Don’t be embarrassed to ask sensitive stuff either I’m not very shy in that regard. Plus, how else are you supposed to know something unless you ask?

I broke my neck at 16 working out on a trampoline. I was a gymnast so it wasn’t anything new, unfortunately one screw up is really all it takes to drastically throw your life down the tubes. I’m 29 now and I still feel like I’ll never get used to being crippled. My injury is at C6 and C7, lower vertebra on your neck, which means I’m a quadriplegic. While I can still move my arms they were paralyzed for a time and my hands still don’t work, but the loss of movement wasn’t the worst part. The loss of sensation is much harder to deal with. It’s harder because you loose so much more from the ability to feel than you do from moving. Moving allows you to do things and be more functional but feeling things lets you experience things. It also protects you from harm. If I hurt myself I might not know for quite some time and it can cause problems that threaten my life simply because I have to pee. Honestly at this point I don’t really care if I get motor function back I just want to be able feel again. I don’t need to walk along a beach if I can feel my girlfriends warm body next to me as we sleep. Those are the things that are more meaningful to me. Doing things will never be as important as feeling things.

Perhaps, this is another reason I am writing this blog. I have the unfortunate experience of knowing what I’m missing and maybe, just maybe, if I let people know what those things are they won’t take them for granted.

Until next post Tumblrites, happy blogging!

Curious? Then ask.