A Credo for Support: Respecting Autonomy in a Society of Interdependence and Care

Do Not try to modify my behaviour.

Be still & listen. What you define as inappropriate

may be my attempt to communicate with you in the only way I can.

Do Not see me as your client. I am your fellow citizen.

See me as your neighbour. Remember, none of us can be self-sufficient.

Do Not try to control me. I have a right to my power as a person. What you call non-compliance or manipulation may actually be the only way I can exert some control over my life.

Do Not work on me. Work with me.

Source: A Credo for Support

Via: Autism and Behaviorism – Alfie Kohn

This credo is a beautiful recipe for respecting autonomy in a framework of interdependence and care. I’m going to share it with the educators and caregivers that work with our family.

The late Herb Lovett used to say that there are only two problems with “special education” in America: It’s not special and it sure as hell isn’t education. The field continues to be marinated in behaviorist assumptions and practices despite the fact that numerous resources for teachers, therapists, and parents offer alternatives to behavior control. These alternatives are based on a commitment to care and to understand. By “care,” I mean that our relationship with the child is what matters most. He or she is not a passive object to be manipulated but a subject, a center of experience, a person with agency, with needs and rights. And by “understand,” I mean that we have an obligation to look beneath the behavior, in part by imaginatively trying to adopt that person’s point of view, attempting to understand the whys rather than just tabulating the frequency of the whats. As Norm Kunc and Emma Van der Klift urged us in their Credo for Support: “Be still and listen. What you define as inappropriate may be my attempt to communicate with you in the only way I can….[or] the only way I can exert some control over my life….Do not work on me. Work with me.”

Source: Autism and Behaviorism – Alfie Kohn

Previously,

“Care is an organizational structure needed to keep our nation running.” “Care work makes all other work possible.”

Care is an organizational structure needed to keep our nation running. It’s, by definition, infrastructure.

Source: Molly Doris-Pierce on Twitter

Putting care—not just care work, but care—at the center of our economy, our politics, is to orient ourselves around our interdependence.

Source: The Year That Broke Care Work | The New Republic

care work makes all other work possible

Source: Care for All Agenda

I added those quotes to my Just Sayin’ collection in a new section on care.

I love how the Biden administration is centering care and pushing for HCBS (Home and Community Based Services) funding, especially after an administration that centered cruelty and left the HCBS system on the brink of collapse.

President Trump and Sen. McConnell’s relief bills contained no funding for HCBS, leaving the system on the brink of collapse. The most recent relief bill, the American Rescue Plan, contains $12 billion for HCBS, and advocates weren’t even certain the money would be in there until late in the process. Historically, home care and disability services in general simply haven’t been a priority, under Democrats and Republicans. Under President Joe Biden, that appears to have changed, as $400 billion is more than any of the advocates I spoke to had hoped for or expected.

Source: Biden Plan Would Allow People Needing Care to Stay at Home – The American Prospect

Deinstitutionalization and HCBS services are the biggest priorities of the neurodiversity and disability rights movements. That $400 billion is desperately needed.

Interdependence and care are good framing and good centering. Design is tested at the edges, where care is most needed. This $400 billion is a very welcome recognition of all that. Cheers to all the advocates and policy workers who got us to where this is even a possibility.

I’ve been rabbitholing, lately, on eugenics, particularly on what I call the cradle-to-grave eugenics of our current systems, contrasting that with the bioarchaeology of compassion and care. During my journey, this line jumped out to me as a disabled and neurodivergent parent of disabled and neurodivergent kids:

“[O]ur system punishes you for not practicing eugenics by not providing a social safety net.”

By not providing care.

When care is not infrastructure, when we are not oriented around our interdependence, we generate ableism and eugenics.

But if you’re killing an entire person to get rid of a non-communicable health condition, maybe think on why you’d feel the need for that. Is it for the good of the child? Is it for the greater good? How do you define that? Maybe it’s because our current system places greater value on a certain type of person? Maybe it’s because our system punishes you for not practicing eugenics by not providing a social safety net.

Source: Neoliberal Eugenics 1: Selective Abortion – Leslie’s Blog

What will future archaeologists of our care make of us? Let’s unlearn the individualism myths and politics of resentment engrained in us, center care, and celebrate our interdependence.

The notion of disability in our society is underscored by a bizarre conception of “independence”.

It is time to celebrate our interdependence!

Source: The Myth of Independence: How The Social Model of Disability Exposes Society’s Double Standards » NeuroClastic

We are dying for you to widen your lens.

Republicans have balked at the idea that infrastructure encompasses caregiving. “We’re up against a gender and racial bias that this work is not worth as much as the rubber, steel and auto work of the past century,” Mary Kay Henry, president of SEIU, told The Washington Post. “The key job right now is we have to in the public imagination and in the congressional debate widen the lens, so that people understand that investment in caregiving is an investment in infrastructure.”

Source: Biden Plan Would Allow People Needing Care to Stay at Home – The American Prospect

Previously:

Interdependence and Representation in Appare-Ranman!

Appare-Ranman! touches on gender equality, racism, sexism, xenophobia, toxic masculinity, neurodiversity, PTSD, teamwork, sportspersonship, ethics, and dealing with bad actors. While navigating all this, the main characters increasingly recognize their interdependence and how that’s not only okay, but their strength and advantage.

Mild character development spoilers:

I enjoyed the character development, particularly how the autistic-coded Appare challenges and breaks out of the usual tropes. The show leans on those tropes, but develops and humanizes beyond them. Appare is also ace and aro coded, and, again, develops sufficiently past the tropes to be satisfying.

Appare says “Feed me” while absorbed in his special interests. Oh, how I relate. Like Appare, I need a Cavendish bubble of support as I go about my SpIns. Like Appare, I’ve taken that support for granted. Like Appare, I eventually recognized that.

I want a season 2, one that follows Appare and Jing and their respective teams as they pursue their passions while navigating society. There can be another race, or not. There can be more action fight scenes, or not. I just want to see these characters develop.

https://www.hulu.com/series/appare-ranman-2d84b975-ecb1-41e4-8bef-5edc003ea2b8

I watched the English dub version, BTW. I’m enjoying the writing and acting on most of the anime dubs I watch these days. Contrast with my childhood in the 1970s and 80s when we existed on frugal fare.