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Are there any disabled architects out there? Looking for community

mmari

I'm not going to go on an entire tangent on how inaccessible both academia and the profession are. We know. Even able-bodied people who perpetuate harmful policies and foster unwelcoming workplace cultures face its disabling effects. I'm extremely fatigued by being gas-light into believing that it's either to function like an able-body person or leave the field because you're not able enough. Are there any architects or designers out there who identify as disabled and can relate to this struggle?

 
Jun 2, 23 2:53 pm
Non Sequitur

Disabilities are not something one "identifies" with so be more specific with what conditions you feel make the practice inaccessible.

Jun 2, 23 3:07 pm  · 
3  ·  4
mmari

Some people do not want to identify as disabled or desire to share their disabilities. The language of the post is what I need it to be.

Jun 2, 23 3:11 pm  · 
2  · 
Non Sequitur

Then it will die a lonely ambiguous death. Real disabilities get accommodations, within reason. Soft or imaginary ones some "identify" with out of convenience don't. Pick your path.

Jun 2, 23 3:20 pm  · 
3  ·  3
mmari

Sigh.

Jun 2, 23 3:25 pm  · 
1  · 
bowling_ball

You'll get nothing if you don't offer more. Your post is way too vague to be able to offer anything of substance. For example, I'm ASD, but I don't consider that a disability. You get what you give.

Jun 2, 23 6:26 pm  · 
3  · 
graphemic

Wow, you guys suck. Criticizing OP for using the wrong language is not coming from a place of wanting to help. You've found an opportunity to attack a member of a group you have resentment toward. I don't know why you have these feelings , but I'm genuinely begging you to sort yourself out.

Jun 2, 23 6:38 pm  · 
12  · 
graphemic

To Non Sequitur: this is materially false, get your head in reality.

Jun 2, 23 6:40 pm  · 
6  ·  1
graphemic

To bowling_ball: this is demonstrably false as you yourself have stated: you don't consider yourself disabled, so this post is not for you. Scram.

Jun 2, 23 6:42 pm  · 
1  ·  2
Non Sequitur

Graph, I am the father of a child with several disabilities, both physical and not. His mother and I work very hard to make sure these disabilities are minimal to his education and everyday life as possible. I take offense at the self identify clause because that’s detrimental to those who do not have a “choice”. Time for you to check your head.

Jun 2, 23 6:57 pm  · 
3  · 
mmari

I think if you read @bowling_balls response to not consider themselves to have a disability then you understand my specific clause about identifying. Some people with ASD do and some do not identify as having a disability or being disabled. This post was for other professionals who know of a community of disabled architects. That would take some form of self-identification. Both visible and invisible.

Jun 2, 23 10:14 pm  · 
1  · 

mmari - you're going to have to be a bit more specific with what disability you have in order for us to be able to identify ways or resources to help you. For example: I am disabled. I have type 1 diabetes. Some don't consider that a disability, some do. I've encountered a wide range of reactions to my disease ranging from thinking I can't do anything and must be protected all the way to thinking I'm just being weak because I need a snack or insulin keep my blood sugar in control.

Jun 6, 23 11:34 am  · 
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graphemic - to be fair having a disability, considering yourself disabled, and identifying as having a disability are all different things. 

Having a disability - you literally classify as being disabled

Considering yourself disabled - you accept and tell people you are disabled, some disabled people don't consider themselves disabled   I'm a type 1 diabetic and am considered disabled.  I don't consider myself disabled though. 

Identifying as disabled - you're not classified as being disabled but think you are.  It's important to understand that just because you aren't classified as being disabled doesn't mean you aren't actually disabled.  It may be that the medical community just hasn't caught up with your diagnosis.  Think Gulf War Syndrome.  It's also important to understand that people who identify as disabled may not actually be disabled.  Think people who say that any exposure gluten cause then to get migraines.  

Jun 6, 23 11:54 am  · 
4  · 

I should of said: 

"It's important to understand that just because you aren't recognized  (not considered) as being disabled doesn't mean you aren't actually disabled."

Jun 6, 23 12:25 pm  · 
2  · 
square.

ah classic - anecdotal evidence and "put in my time "mentality trumping the op's original concerns... if you don't gel with the "criteria" of the post, use your time more wisely instead of being an internet curmudgeon.

Jun 6, 23 12:28 pm  · 
2  ·  1

Square - I'm not trumping the OP's original concerns. I actually understand them.  Also it's not anecdotal evidence.  

The OP used a very poor choice of words and was called called out because of it. I personally would have simply mentioned the poor word choice and provided a bit of education on the topic so he / she can be able to speak about it in more without offending people with disabilities. 

In case you're wondering the definition of the terms I listed comes from those within the disabled community.  I was unable to walk and in a wheelchair for nearly two years.  During that time I became involved with my local and national disabled communities.  That is one of the reasons why I'm so passionate about the ADA and keep railing on architects to understand that the ADA is the MINIMUM for those with physical mobility disabilities.   

Jun 6, 23 12:31 pm  · 
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square.

i'm not sure it's occurred to either you or ns, but sometimes.. you're wrong, even if you're "right." overall not a cool response by both of you (as evidenced by the thumbs).

Jun 6, 23 3:28 pm  · 
 · 

I'm sorry you disagree with me on this. I'm stating the views of the disabled community which I am a part of. The thumbs don't denote someone being write or wrong. W

Jun 6, 23 3:37 pm  · 
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square.

i actually didn't say you were explicitly wrong..

but keep digging that ditch

Jun 6, 23 3:49 pm  · 
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square -

Sorry about that. I had more to my post but hit return and then had to run to a meeting. 

Based on your comments It does seem that you are implying that Non and I are wrong.  This is despite us saying that we are members of the disabled community and that what the OP said is offensive.  If this wasn't your intent then I apologize and would appreciate you to clear up what you meant by your comments. 

As for my original point before I hit enter and had to go . . .

Using the phrase 'identifying as disabled' is offensive to the disabled community. Non and I are part of that community. The reason for this is that many people have issues that may impact their everyday lives. It is important to recognize these people’s issues and accommodate them. However, being disabled is often magnitudes more challenging and requires a complete alteration of your and your families’ lives. To say they are both the same is the insulting part.  It's like someone with a peanut allergy saying that they face the same challenges as a person with stomach cancer.  

Jun 6, 23 5:08 pm  · 
 · 
graphemic

OP: I'm not disabled, but I hope you find some folks to connect with. I've seen some posts here from people with both physical and mental disabilities, perhaps seek those posts out? 

TBH you also may want to connect with other architects involved in labor organizing. They're much more realistic about the damage it does on even able bodies and how that intersects with disability, class, race, etc. Your voice would be a huge benefit to any organizing effort, I'm sure. 

Wishing you the best.

Jun 2, 23 6:57 pm  · 
4  · 
Archinect

mmari - we encourage you to find a supportive outlet to discuss your specific disability. We're sorry to see this type of response to your post. We encourage you to find the right support network to facilitate growth, as it seems like this may be an inappropriate context to discuss your particular disability. 

Jun 2, 23 9:08 pm  · 
10  · 

Archinect - While Non's response may have been blunt he's not incorrect. The wording he's used are what the majority of people in the disabled community use. While Non's wording explaining disabilities where harsh they are correct and considered accurate by the disabled community. There are many instances where using the term 'identify as disabled' and it's associated definition are considered offensive to those within the disabled community. 

Disabilities of any type or severity are tough.  It can be very upsetting, frustrating, and even insulting to see someone claim to be disabled when they aren't.  It takes away from the struggles that people with actual disabilities and their families have to deal with every day.  I think that is what caused Non's less than poetic response to the OP.  Using the phrase 'identifies as disabled' without providing any background is normally seen as being dishonest in the disabled community. 

Jun 6, 23 12:57 pm  · 
2  · 
____

“The unexamined life is not worth living,” Socrates 


OP, imo you expressed yourself clearly.

Jun 2, 23 9:37 pm  · 
6  · 
mmari

This really feels like a demonstration of why disabled people, including myself, do not feel comfortable. I repeat that if anyone is disabled and feels comfortable identifying themselves as so, please reach out because I would love to be a part of the little community that exists. 

Jun 2, 23 9:57 pm  · 
1  · 
____

Some may fear it could negativity affect their career.

Jun 2, 23 10:41 pm  · 
 · 
____

*negatively*

Jun 2, 23 10:59 pm  · 
 · 

It's not about being disabled, considering yourself disabled, or identifying as disabled. It's about dealing with personal adversity that others may or may not be aware of. You don't need to call yourself disabled to experience that.  

We all experience personal adversity.  Some just have more to deal with than others.  

Jun 6, 23 12:23 pm  · 
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bowling_ball

mmari - I'm sorry that my words bothered you. I meant no offense, was just trying to be helpful because, as I said, you get what you give. Maybe folks here aren't ready to share their stories with a stranger. Maybe you need to develop their trust. Just throwing out some ideas.

Jun 4, 23 3:31 am  · 
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archanonymous

mmari - don't take it personally. A few of these frequent posters use the forum as an outlet for their own personal frustrations. They may not be disabled, but they could sure use some help.

I'd encourage you to check out/ follow/ get in touch with LCM Architects in Chicago. They do some solid work and are great advocates for architects with disabilities. https://www.lcmarchitects.com/

Jun 4, 23 9:32 am  · 
5  · 

AA - I know you're just trying to settle personal grudges here but please understand that according to the vast majority of disabled people Non's views are correct regarding the wording the OP used.

Jun 6, 23 12:41 pm  · 
 · 
Non Sequitur

T'is ok Chad. I don't expect randos online to be aware that I'm personally involved in this space. Hence why I've left my comment as is without doubling down or ruffling any feathers.

Jun 6, 23 1:29 pm  · 
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It bothers me though Non

There seems to be a lot of people with good intentions that simply have no clue. Some of these people's comments are actually insulting to those within the disabled community.

Jun 6, 23 1:34 pm  · 
2  ·  1
archanonymous

Did I single anyone out? Do you know what my disability status is? Do you know me? No. Right back at ya, Chad.

Jun 6, 23 4:09 pm  · 
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You clearly did single out Non despite not naming him. You're right that I don't know your disability status. You do know mine though. You know of my continued involvement with the disabled community and their views on the correct wording to use when discussing this. Despite this you continue to argue AGAINST how the disabled community want to referenced. Either you're being obtuse or petty and trying to settle a personal grudge with Non. Either way it's disappointing behavior.

Jun 7, 23 10:03 am  · 
 ·  1
bowling_ball

I found an Accessibility Consultant, founded by a disabled woman. They work with architects, you could get in touch


https://www.levelplayingfield.ca/

Jun 4, 23 9:55 pm  · 
3  · 
____

Cool

Jun 4, 23 11:09 pm  · 
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I am considered disabled.  I'm a type 1 diabetic. It can be a big of struggle when my diabetes causes issues with my health (mental faculties mostly from out of range blood sugar).  Most people look at me and think I look healthy and can't seem to understand that it's a constant struggle to keep my blood sugars in control though.  Diabetes impacts every aspect of your life and it takes very little to cause major, permanent damage to your body.  

I once had a supervisor who didn't recognize my diabetes as being a disability.  

Back when I was a student intern I was being given instructions on a project by this supervisor. My blood sugar went low and as part of this I became easily confused.  I told my supervisor this and said I need to eat and take a few minutes. This person ignored me and kept speaking.  I began to take notes so that I wouldn't miss anything.  This person yelled at me, and said that if I couldn't remember simple things then I shouldn't be in this profession.  He they poked me in the forehead and said 'use your brain'.  Due to my low blood sugar my normal self control was inhibited and I grabbed this person's finger and broke it.  The supervisor screamed and after the initial shock said I was fired.  

After explaining to the firm owner about what happened the supervisor was given a talking to and nothing happened to me.  I moved to a new firm a few months later.  

Jun 6, 23 11:49 am  · 
5  · 

On a related note - I'd suggest the OP contact their local advocacy groups for disabled persons.  You can start with your states ADA department and they will have a list of various advocacy groups in your area.  

I would also reach out to AIA.  I know several states have groups of disabled architects.  I'm not sure how active they are anymore though.  

https://www.aia.org/articles/1...

It's important to understand that some disabled people don't want to be defined by their disability.  Hence some don't consider themselves disabled.  This can make professional groups harder to find outside of people with physical disabilities that limit their mobility.   

Jun 6, 23 12:47 pm  · 
1  · 
natematt

TLDR response.

Is the profession friendly to disability? No.

not sure why people are getting so bent out of shape over specificity when it seems like everyone agrees with the premise… 

Jun 6, 23 4:35 pm  · 
2  · 

This issues are: 

  1.  The OP unintentionally used offensive language to portray disabled people.  
  2.  Many people took Non's response as an attack against disabled people, it's not. 
  3.  A few users here decided to ignore how members of the disabled community want to be portrayed and instead decided to try and settle personal grudges with those that disagree with them.

Number three is the only real issue to get bent out of shape about.  If you're not going to show some grace,  listen to members of a community, and learn how to portray disable people in a dignified manner then we have a big problem. 

Jun 7, 23 10:11 am  · 
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natematt

It's just really ironic to me that the point of the post was about looking for empathy among a specific community, and it immediately became infighting instead.

Jun 10, 23 5:38 am  · 
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concetta.m

Yikes the toxicity is thick

This is the most gatekept forum I've ever seen. I'm disabled and I'm pretty sure the only thing this person wanted was some resources or a place to find other disabled architects. I'm sure the right language would have been found if they were in their community. Everyone is learning as they're going.  Chill out everyone and show some grace

There are a few groups on Instagram that I've seen and some excellent writers too. You can DM direct @mmari if you want them/anyone else. So sorry for you and everyone else who had to read this nonsense. 

Jun 6, 23 4:57 pm  · 
7  · 

I have to agree with this. Thanks for bringing some level headed discussion to this thread.

Jun 7, 23 10:06 am  · 
2  · 
____

From the ADA-a small except:


Guidelines for Writing About People With Disabilities


 words you use and the way you portray individuals with disabilities matters. This factsheet provides guidelines for portraying individuals with disabilities in a respectful and balanced way by using language that is accurate, neutral and objective.





Jun 6, 23 7:50 pm  · 
1  · 
____

*excerpt*

Jun 6, 23 7:54 pm  · 
1  · 

One caveated to this: not all people with disabilities will want to be portrayed in the same fashion. Some do not want to be referred to as disabled. Hence why using neutral and objective language is important. Probably the single best way to do this is to NOT say that you 'identify' as being disabled.

IE:  don't say something like:  'oh are you disabled, do you need some help?'  Instead say: 'would you like some assistance?'.   I know it seems like a small thing but it's not.   

Jun 7, 23 10:19 am  · 
 · 
____

I don't think you or NS realize the subtext of some of your comments.
I believe you took offence when none was intended. I am not looking for an argument. I will leave it at that and if anyone is in need of guidance on this subject I would suggest they refer to the ADA guidelines I referenced above. Best wishes to you and NS.

Jun 7, 23 2:10 pm  · 
1  · 
Non Sequitur

Thanks Arch2, but I'll be fine without the fake sympathy.

Jun 7, 23 2:25 pm  · 
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No problem Arch2. I don't think the OP intended to be offensive. Regardless the comment was offensive but that's not what bothers me. 

What I find offensive are the users in the this thread who simply decided to ignored how members of the disabled community want to be portrayed. These same user disregarded Non and my views on the subject despite the two of us being part of the disabled community. 

There is no subtext in those users comments.  They are simply being close minded jerks who don't seem to care about the issues at hand but instead want to try and ridicule and mock us while masking it at outrage for the OP.  That's a rather deplorable thing to do. 

Jun 7, 23 3:12 pm  · 
 · 

I don’t hide this, but I believe I’ve never mentioned it on here - I’m hearing impaired. In person meetings can be rough with lots of overlapping talking so the rise of virtual meetings where I could use my phone to stream to my hearing aids helped a lot. Same when office phones became largely forwarded to our cells. I make the best of it, turn on closed captioning, etc…


Anyway, there’s a lot of us out there. Some don’t want to talk about it, some are open, and many have it way worse than I do. OP feel free to reach out, I know a couple of others and maybe I can get you in touch with them. 

Jun 7, 23 4:22 pm  · 
5  · 
gwharton

I am too. Completely deaf.

Oct 30, 23 7:18 pm  · 
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Volunteer

Major League Baseball dropped the term 'disabled list' this year and replaced it with an 'Injured list' term at the request of non-baseball people who are disabled.

I think the 'disabled' are trying to get away from the term, and more power to them.   

Jun 8, 23 9:58 am  · 
1  · 
bowling_ball

Was just thinking the same. There's got to be a better term. "Differently abled" isn't it.

Jun 8, 23 8:59 pm  · 
 ·  1

I remember when the term was 'handicapped'. If someone wasn't in a wheelchair you'd hear people saying there was nothing wrong with them . . . .uhg.

Here a couple of resources on how to portray people with disabilities during written and verbal conversation.   One of them is from 2006 and is currently being updated however it's a good starting point.  The general gist is to ask how someone wants to be portrayed.  

https://www.aucd.org/docs/add/...

https://adata.org/factsheet/AD...

Jun 9, 23 9:56 am  · 
 · 
midlander

there is an interesting amount of academic study on this phenomenon where terminology is changed to avoid associations with pejorative terms. inevitably the new term will become pejorative too. http://www.cambridgeblog.org/2020/08/ableist-language-and-the-euphemism-treadmill/

Jun 9, 23 3:59 pm  · 
3  · 
Wood Guy

It's almost like you can't outrun a label. Especially if you're disabled.

(I realize that's a tasteless joke. My speech impediment is often considered a disability, though I don't identify as disabled.)

(I should probably head off knee-jerk reactions to my comment: https://www.isastutter.org/stu....)


Jun 10, 23 10:43 am  · 
 · 
eaea

Yikes yikes yikes to so many of these comments.

@mmari and anyone else interested: I run a forum on Discord for people to discuss disability in the built environment. This also includes within the building/construction/design industries. It's a good group of people. I myself am disabled, a licensed architect, and nearly complete with an MA in Disability Studies. Shoot me a message and I'll send you an invite link! Please don't bother if you are only interested in debating whether disability is a valid political identity. 

Oct 23, 23 3:58 pm  · 
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s.aaron

Could you send me an invite link? I'm a physically-disabled architecture student and am exploring disability studies in my thesis, and connecting with others interested in disability in the profession.

Oct 28, 23 1:00 pm  · 
1  · 
kelliefoster

I have a physical disability and I am currently seeking licensure. I have a physical disability and I am currently seeking licensure. Let me know if I can help.

May 4, 24 9:19 pm  · 
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Not quite about community, but some interesting discourse on the topic...check out David Gissen's book "The Architecture of Disability"

Interview in Metropolis w/ Gissen

https://amzn.to/3MProPJ

Nov 2, 23 5:02 pm  · 
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kelliefoster

I think people are focusing too much on the language. Speaking as a person with a disability that feels isolated and under represented in the profession.

May 4, 24 9:11 pm  · 
1  · 

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