My Morning News Rant

This was going to be an unscientific piece on things people said about being disabled or about PWD on the Internet, but I’m still mining that. Besides, Morning Joe has finally pushed me over the edge. Sure, I could just turn it off, but watchable television at 6:00 a.m. is hard to come by.

So what has my dander up, and why here? Well, this has been percolating awhile. It started with the tragedy in Sandy Hook. Let me state for anyone who might take a record that I love gun control. I hate guns. I was watching my morning news show, and they said (and keep saying) “keep guns out of the hands of people with mental illness”. Sometimes they have problems saying it so nicely. But they never define what they mean. I’m not sure they know what they mean. And while they pound this issue over and over again, they haven’t had one expert on mental illness on their show to talk to them about how to help someone who might need it, or even what mental illnesses they might be talking about. Depression? Schizophrenia? What mental illness bars you from having a gun according to the Morning Joe Gang?

And then there’s this, although I am sure everyone picked up this story and ran with it, everyone always does: 11% of children are now diagnosed as having ADHD. The Morning Joe crew pounced on this like my cat pounces on a can of tuna. Are there cases of misdiagnoses? Of course. But when the story that 1 in 50 children are somewhere on the autism scale was handed out, they were fine with that. They did a great disservice to people who suffer from this disease by just poo-pooing it as bad parenting, too much technology, and/or laziness.

When I was still working as a social worker, I observed a young man, around 16 years old. Despite the psychiatrist’s diagnosis and suggestion, his mother refused ADHD medication, as was her right. The poor boy couldn’t sit still for 10 minutes. He was disruptive in his special-ed class. He didn’t want to be like this. Even though he had the diagnosis of ADD/ADHD, he was dismissed as being a troublemaker. It is true that people with ADHD, in addition to medication, need to use a whole range of tools (schedules, lists, special watches, computers, extra sets of books), but that medication is a godsend.

With the exception of the coverage of how shoddily wounded veterans have been treated by the Veterans Administration, this has been the sum total of coverage of persons with disabilities. Oh, we do get the discussion about how Medicare and Medicaid need to be cut and how this would affect the elderly, but never how this would affect people with disabilities (except perhaps parents with children with disabilities). And of course the people who “overcome” their “handicap”- usually these people are “wheelchair-bound” as well.

Let’s not forget Oscar Pistorius. Him they’ll talk about.


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