Posted in Advocacy, Autistic Identity

The Costs of Hidden Disabilities: Why it Costs More to be Me

There’s a good Huffington Post Canada article that details some of the costs about being Disabled.  The article focuses primarily on the big-ticket items (mobility devices, etc.) but does mention food costs can be more expensive due to dietary restrictions.  This is an area where the ABC show Speechless is very honest; the family does not live well.  One parent works and the other is thereby more available to help the Disabled child in particular, but also the traditionally-developing children, as needed.  This is not a luxury; it is a necessity.  They even move into the most run-down house in the nicest neighborhood possible.  Why?  Better opportunities for all of their children.  This is one way in which the show demonstrates privilege in the Disability community; the family is poor, but not so poor they can’t move somewhere else.  This is most definitely a privilege not all families have.

[Image: A white woman with light brown hair wearing a white blouse, grey skirt, and black pumps, holds up a white calculator with many dollar signs on its display. She looks in shock at the viewer, over her black glasses.]
 

Let me mention at the outset that there are government funds for Disability in the U.S., but they require a family to live in poverty in order to obtain the funds. They limit how much the family can earn and what the family can own.  The idea underlying this is that we’ll help you if you’re really, really poor, but these funds aren’t to help you live a life on par with the non-disabled person.  Instead, they are a ticket to government scrutiny and shame and to keep you from becoming more of a drain on the public’s funding.  The strings associated with such funds keep a poor Disabled person poor and Disabled, but they can be a lifeline for many.

I wanted to share with you some of our family’s expenses that are “luxuries” to some and to point out how they are not for us in order to understand the costs of being a family with hidden Disabilities.

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