Disability is not about what you can’t do. There are lots of things that most humans cannot do that we do not consider a disability.

  • We do not have infrared vision.
  • We cannot run as fast as a cheetah.
  • We cannot hold our breath underwater for as long as a whale.
  • We cannot use echolocation.
  • We are not telepathic.
  • We cannot fly.

Technically speaking, humans, as a group, are impaired in a lot of ways. But since most people share these impairments, we expect them, and we’ve designed a society that accommodates for these impairments.

Instead of reading each other’s minds, we talk to each other. Instead of running at the speed of light, we drive cars. Instead of breathing underwater, we built submarines. Etc. etc. etc.

Disability is not about what you can’t do. Disability is what happens when what you can and can’t do doesn’t match up to the people around you.

Autistic Self Advocacy Network


Ubuntu is an age old African term for humaneness and is founded on values of caring, sharing, mutual respect, equity and assuming responsibility for the welfare of others […]

Just like there is unity in the body, in families, communities, nations and the whole world, there should not be any division but that individuals should have equal concern for each other. If one individual suffers, every whole community is affected. […] As human beings we are all parts of a big body called society meant to be complete if we enhance each other in order to improve quality of life.

[O]ne of [Ubuntu’s] central tenets is to recognize that ‘to be human is to affirm one’s humanity by recognizing the humanity of others’. […] Thus while we are distinctive beings, being human involves recognizing and valuing one’s connectedness to others and recognizing the inherent responsibilities we have towards other people. […]

Individuals have obligations to and rights within the broader collective such as the family or community. Moreover, the sorts of things around which the obligations and rights revolve are all the different kinds of needs that arise in human existence and interaction – including the needs of disabled people.

The [posters] from the students [suggest] that this inherent ‘interdependency’ and ‘mutual responsibility’ of people seemed so important to them, and that there is an important relationship of interdependence between disabled people and the communities within which they live […]

Each individual is embedded within a network of relationships with others that allows them to act collectively and support each other. Thus, an individual set of capabilities (what they are able to do and to be effective) is not only determined through an individual agency, but can result from interactions with other people. This is especially important for disabled people as it means that their ability to effectively exercise their agency is strongly linked to the collective capability of a community, including around addressing disability within that community.

what is equally important about the use of the concept of Ubuntu and the associated emphasis on interdependence is that such understandings challenge much of the thinking about disability in the global North. […] central to this thinking is a discourse of ‘individualism’ that fails to recognise the fundamental importance of the collective in the global South and the value of it for disabled people. […]

Bryson Nsama Kabaso, Sibongile Zembe, Samkange & Samkange, H. Ndlovu, K. Wiredu, J.L. Dubois, J.F. Trani, S. Grech, Colleen Howell, Theresa Lorenzo, Siphokazi Sompeta-Gcaza



Swings (Part 2)

It is not always easy to reconstruct an accident: sometimes the skid marks and the injuries simply indicate that they occurred simultaneously, frustrating efforts to determine which driver caused the harm. […]

the accident’s causes may be multiple – both knowable and unknowable […]

Out of context; Kimberlé Crenshaw, Therí Alyce Pickens


Despite claims of authority over representation of a place, maps almost always misrepresent that place in some important way, making the familiar seem alien.

Counter-mapping […] relies on collective-memory work to understand how communities build meaning and identity.

It poses questions (Who once occupied this space? What was once here? Why is it no longer here? What elements of it are or were meaningful to the people who use or used that space daily?) that subvert singular narratives of home, of belonging, and of what a place should be.

Out of context, Adwoa Afful



Swings (Part 1)

I am a ‘true’ autistic buried under layers of ‘nonautistic’ as much as I am a ‘true’ nonautistic buried under layers of ‘autistic’.

Out of context, thequestioningaspie


Autism is not the imprisoning box […] The box is what takes the myriad of full, whole, varied, and beautiful people who share the characteristics known as autistic, and draws jagged lines and boundaries straight through the middle of us in ways that cut like a knife […] It defines some characteristics as okay for autistic people to have, and others as definitely not okay […]

Mel Baggs



Stitches (Part 2)

Autism advocacy that narrates autism as some ‘thing’ that is ‘in’ and not ‘of’ some people functions to shape life as having autism as (one of) its condition(s).

As autism is made (and kept) separate from life itself, and as living people’s bodies are split into vital and nonvital parts, life ‘with’ (the condition of) autism becomes life along a vital spectrum […] that inaugurates new, possible categories of life (and death): ‘almost living’ as well as ‘mostly dead’; […] a necessary precognition for acts of violence that are normalized as necessary.

Anne McGuire


Ways in which diagnosis is useful […] It extends the reach of genocide and saves lives.

Eli Clare


Symptoms only take us so far.

My hands create and transform space as much as they occupy it. […] Sometimes I am the only person who knows what my hands are meaning. Sometimes even I don’t know what my hands mean – but why must I always cherish or privilege meaning?

Melanie Yergeau