I hear your point, and my concerns are very much with people we label as
having learning difficulties [UK] (there is quite a cultural difference in
the labels we apply here which I always found intriguing).
I accept what you say, and wish to add something which may further
problematise the reconciliation of prevention with inclusion. That is, in
the case of people with learning difficulties, pre natal diagnosis can cause
the impairment that the method is seeking to diagnose.
But I think reconciliation between prevention and inclusion is possible if
we focus on pain, including spiritual, psychological and physical. I think
that pain is the thing that is disabling and this is what needs to be
prevented. The pain of stigmatisation, exclusion and isolation can all be
things we can seek to prevent through social and political intervention,
most noticeably through policies of inclusion. Having a learning difficulty
can be spiritually, psychologically and socially painful. Having toothache
can be physically painful [though psychological painful also if you get
admonished by your dentist for not brushing your teeth regularly]. Inclusion
of one in order to reduce social pain while exclusion of the other
[extraction of the tooth] both seem satisfactory. However, that is perhaps
simplistic. Afterall, physical pain very seldomly has a physical cause
rather, it is more often a symptom of such things as psychological strain of
living in a spiritually toxic environment. I think we can reduce pain once
we realise what that pain really is. However, we must be careful as pain is
often thought of in bio-medical terms which leads us up the path of
extracting human beings from our society rather than extracting such
pollutants as disabilism sexism, racism from our social environments.
Hope that has stirred the pot. Am enjoying this discussion
> -----Original Message-----
> From: homan [SMTP:[log in to unmask]]
> Sent: Wednesday, June 09, 1999 10:30 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Cc: NICHOLAS ACHESON; [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: prevention vs. inclusion?
> Good morning all,
> As the husband of the mother, and the father of a 30 year old
> intellectually disabled girl, there is is an aspect that has so far been
> lost in a discussion seemingly dominated by physically but not
> intellectually disabled participants.
> There is the real possibility that pre-natal diagnosys may not only
> identify disability, but also type and extend with sufficient
> statistical accuracy that it can be taken seriously.
> There is the real option then, if the disability can not be mended with
> vinegar or brown paper, that parents will seriously opt for abortion,
> not necessarily for selfish motives.
> Rgds John
> [log in to unmask] wrote:
> > On Wed, 9 Jun 1999, NICHOLAS ACHESON wrote:
> > > Here, here to Martin's comment. Surely is is a matter of both
> > > prevention and inclusion. Is there anybody out there who would
> > > advocate the ending of road safety campaigns to reduce the incidence
> > > of brain injury because to do so might somehow imply that they were
> > > therefore opposed to the full social, political, and economic
> inclusion of disabled people as a social
> > > category?
> > >
> > > Speaking personally, I suspect that I would continue to find my
> > > own impairments - the results of meningitis - incommoding from time
> > > to time even in a fully inclusive utopia. I have no problem with
> > > research aimed at preventing and treating meningitis as an illness.
> > > I think therefore that it is possible to argue that in any possible
> > > world, it is better not to have had this particular illness. We're
> > > back here to the distinction between illness and disability - not
> > > the same thing at all!
> > >
> > No--we're 'back'to the distinction of disability vs. 'normalcy,' I
> > and whenever you situate the former as something tragic and
> > aggressive work in PREVENTION...you reify the myth of the latter. It's
> not as
> > simple as the road-accident scenario you offer: Of course we want to
> > injuries caused by drunk drivers, but does that mean we have to ascribe
> > 'worse-than-death' diagnosis to the person who becomes impaired due to
> > accident? I recall a MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) poster
> enshrined in
> > the cafeteria of my son's high school years ago: a photo of an isolated,
> > deeply saddened young man in a wheelchair, with the inferred message,
> > "Don't let this happen to someone because you mixed drink and driving."
> > asked a teacher to take the poster down, because (altho I couldn't
> > it at the time) it offended me. A case of 'prevention' unable to
> coexist with
> > an inclusive mentality.
> > Likewise, your example of meningitis--or another scenario recently
> > polio--These are, like the consequences of war, obviously something we'd
> > like to see diminished. But the fact is, congenital and acquired
> > of some kind will always exist, and as long as we posit the results as
> > we do further injury to the 'soldiers' who must endure society's
> > that bodily difference is damnable, no?
> > Dona