Saturday, May 04, 2013

What shall we do with a half-Deaf Aspie?

The Atlantic has a fascinating interview with Gary Greenberg, author and contributor to The New Yorker, Mother Jones, and The New York Times. The talk ranges from Big Pharma, Big Insurance, the nature of illness, and the psychiatrist bible, the DSM. Here's a taste for the rainbow readers:
So we corrected our notion of what counts as a "disease." Is there a modern equivalent?
Homosexuality is the most obvious example. Until 1973, it was listed as a disease. It's very easy to see what's wrong with "drapetomania," but it's easier to see the balancing act involved in saying homosexuality is or isn't a disease -- how something has to shift in society. The people who called homosexuality a disease weren't necessarily bigots or homophobes -- they were just trying to understand people who wanted to love people of their own sex. Disease is a way to understand difference that includes compassion. What has to shift is the idea that same-sex love is acceptable. Once that idea is there, it doesn't make sense to call homosexuality a disease. 
The subject is all the more piquant as next week I must traipse into Wellington to see a pet WINZ doctor to check if I'm whether I'm still valid for the Invalids' Benefit (I'm not the only one having issues with disability services either). After craptastic email communications and having my rent money cut off temporarily, I have been informed that there are no designated doctors in Kapiti, after the existing one retired.

Seeing as Aspies are now relegated in DSM-5 to just one colour of the autism spectrum, it looks like I'll have to fall on my Deaf ears to prove my point. How am I supposed to demonstrate that the subjective nature of hearing loss is of sufficient incapacity to render me vocationally challenged? Will I have to recite a litany of misheard conversations and laughingly poor job choices?

Probably. There's no dignity to being Deaf even during NZ Sign Language Week.