Posts tagged communication

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Social skills: Considering communication an obligation


Sometimes, when people learn methods of communication that sometimes work for people with disabilities, they use them only to get compliance. Or to make things more peaceful and calm. And they expect that things will become easier. And some things will, but…

If you’re doing it right -- if what you’re doing is real communication — you should be hearing NO a lot more than you used to. And some things should become more complicated than they were before.

And you should be understanding and respecting NO more than you used to. The communication should sometimes, probably even often, interfere with your plans and challenge your assumptions. If your interactions almost always make things more convenient for you, what you’re doing is probably not really communication.

Even if the person you’re talking to is a little child — even two-year-old kids who don’t have disabilities are allowed to say no and make it stick sometimes. Little kids who need help communicating, need help communicating things adults *don’t* want them to say, as well as things adults *do* want them to say. It’s important for them to learn how to *decide* what to say.

And, especially — if you’re treating an adult in a way that makes it impossible for them to communicate boundaries even a two-year-old child is allowed to have, somethings is going seriously wrong. And you should be fixing it, and you should expect that fixing it will be inconvenient and lead to you having to change what you do because the person you are communicating said no, or said something unexpected.

Learning to communicate is not just a matter of learning to talk to someone; it’s also a matter of learning how to listen.

And, in pretty much every culture there is, listening to people with communication disabilities is considered optional, and learning how is considered to be a special skill gained by special people who have extra special patience for Working With People Like That. (And, it’s not even routinely expected of people whose primary job is teaching or supporting people with disabilities. It’s considered something *exceptionally good* people in such roles might take on.) 

But listening to and communicating with people with disabilities isn’t optional. It’s a basic social skill that everyone needs to acquire (unless they have a disability that prevents it).

And — considering communication optional makes it harder. Acknowledging that others have the right to communicate, and that listening effectively is basic decency and not a special favor you’re doing someone, makes it a lot easier to learn how to communicate properly.

(Source: realsocialskills, via imnotevilimjustwrittenthatway)

Filed under ableism communication

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But anyway, we have seen a few discussions going around lately about how non-autistic professionals tend to say autism is about impaired socialization, “theory of mind,” stereotyped repetitive behaviors, etc. While autistic people say that it’s about profound differences in cognition, perception, and communication. (And often the autistic people disagreeing with the professionals about this, are the ones who’ve been labeled as severely affected or low-functioning or thought by other people at some point in their life to be incapable of understanding what was going on around them. And no, these things are not mutually exclusive with having been labeled high-functioning, mildly affected, etc at some other point in a person’s life.)

And… one other thing we’ve noticed is this:

Autistic people who believe that autism is primarily a deficiency in social skills, “theory of mind,” etc, often tend to be more unhappy than autistic people who believe (as we do) that the most important aspects of it are profound differences in perception, cognition, and communication. To actually have a lower “quality of life,” when it comes to what they want versus what they have.

And this probably has a lot to do with the fact that they have been taught to believe that their entire life is going to consist of trying to strive after Almost Normal even though they will never quite get all the way there.

amorpha&, Things that make us headdesk (reading the whole thing is good for context)

While autistic people say that it’s about profound differences in cognition, perception, and communication.”

I can’t stress that enough.

(via deaf-aspie)

(Source: withasmoothroundstone, via )

Filed under actuallyautistic autism passing quality of life happiness social skills theory of mind empathy perception communication cognition

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…Though there are very great impediments to expressing another’s sentient distress, so are there also very great reasons why one might want to do so, and thus there come to be avenues by which this most radically private of experiences begins to enter the realm of public discourse…

Perhaps the most obvious is medicine, for the success of the physician’s work will often depend on the acuity with which he or she can hear the fragmentary language of pain, coax it into clarity, and interpret it. The hesitation built into the previous sentence - “perhaps the most obvious” - acknowledges the fact that many people’s experience of the medical community would bear out the opposite conclusion, the conclusion that physicians do not trust (hence, hear) the human voice, that they in effect perceive the voice of the patient as an “unreliable narrator” of bodily events, a voice which must be bypassed as quickly as possible so that they can get around and behind it to the physical events themselves. But if the only external sign of the felt-experience of pain (for which there is no alteration in the blood count, no shadow on the X-ray, no pattern on the CAT scan) is the patient’s verbal report (however itself inadequate), then to bypass the voice is to bypass the bodily event, to bypass the patient, to bypass the person in pain. Thus the reality of a patient’s X-rayable cancer may be believed-in but the accompanying pain disbelieved and the pain medication under-prescribed. Medical contexts, like all other contexts of human experience, provide instances of the alarming phenomenon noted earlier: to have great pain is to have certainty; to hear that another person has pain is to have doubt (The doubt of other persons, here as elsewhere, amplifies the suffering of those already in pain).

- The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World by Elaine Scarry

(via reinventionoftheprintingpress-d)

Filed under Bodies Chronic illness Disability Medicine Pain Communication

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I’ve been disturbed to see dynamics emerge where people create the new poly norm and then hate themselves if they cannot live up to it. If they are not perfect at being non-jealous, non-threatened, and totally delighted by their partners’ exploits immediately then they have somehow failed. I have felt this way myself. Frustrated at how my intellect can embrace this approach to sex and yet my emotional reaction is sometimes enormous and undeniably negative. At times, this has become a new unachievable perfection I use to torture myself, embarrassed even to admit to friends how awful I feel when overcome by jealousy, and becoming increasingly distant from partners as I try to hide these shameful and overwhelming feelings. This doesn’t seem like the radical and revolutionary practice I had hoped for. In fact, it feels all too familiar, like the other traumas of growing up under capitalism—alienation from myself and others, constant insecurity and distrust and fear, self-hatred and doubt and inadequacy.

Dean Spade, For Lovers and Fighters (via tgstonebutch)

Dean Spade is probably my favorite human.

(via hickiesandhotpants)


(via waxpapereyes)

(via nicocoer)

Filed under jealousy perfectionism polyamory emotions feelings communication dean spade truth relationships