A/N: This post is raw and more of a collection of thoughts than a coherent whole. I’m posting here as a signpost to myself. It’s definitely intended to be a comprehensive commentary on the subject of independence and disability.
I. Theory, Background, Questions and Concepts
What is the relationship between being dependent and being independent? Certainly not the opposites that we assume at first glance.
There are common themes that you’ll encounter if you read enough autism parenting-related blogs and comments:
“My child is severely autistic and will never be able to live on their own.”
“My child is going to depend on me for the rest of their lives. They’ll never have the skills to live independently.”
The assumption that dependent and independent are opposing states is implicit in these types of statements. A person who lives on their own is considered independent by default; a person who needs the support of others to conduct their daily life is dependent. Little acknowledgement is given to the gray areas of reality.
Consider this scenario:
My elderly neighbor lives alone.
Based on this statement, you’d assume he’s independent, right?
How about this scenario:
My elderly neighbor, who lives alone, is in poor health. He has daily visits from Meals on Wheels and a health aide. A maid service comes every other week to clean his house, a lawn service keeps up his yard, and various neighbors drop by daily to bring in his newspaper and check on him.
Is he still independent? Dependent? Something else we’ve failed to consider?
Oh, wait, I know what many of you will say . . . we’re all interdependent. This is true. Few of us make our own clothes or grow our own food or generate our own electricity. Even those of us who are able to cut the grass or clean the house might hire someone who can do a better job of it.
Does that mean some of us are more interdependent than others? That independence and dependence are fictional extremes where no one actually lives? Continue reading (In)Dependent