The Curb Cut Effect, or Why It Is Basically Impossible To Appropriate From Disabled People

Thing of Things

In my treks over the internet, I have seen various people (mostly social justice people) worrying that they are somehow harming Real disabled people if they use a wheelchair if they can still walk a little or use stim toys or these nifty color communication badges if they aren’t autistic. Similarly, I have seen various people (mostly anti-social-justice people) who believe that Fake Disabled People are running around pretending to be disabled and using color communication badges and wheelchairs and so on, and this hurts disabled people somehow (they have never quite specified how).

This is completely fucking wrong.

In universal design, there’s something called the curb cut effect. Basically, things intended to benefit people with disabilities wind up benefiting everyone. Curb cuts, which are intended for wheelchair users to be able to get on sidewalks, help bicyclists, parents with strollers, delivery people, and a dozen other nondisabled groups…

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Published by Autism Candles

My name is Nathan Young. I'm the founder of the Autism Candles project. I am a self-advocate. The candle project exist to make a statement about inclusion and opportunity. My email is Feel free to contact me.


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