This is not the post I wanted to write but…


…in the meantime, I am teaching Laura’s parrot to meow.


About Mel Baggs

Hufflepuff. Came from the redwoods. Crochet or otherwise create constantly and compulsively. Write poetry and paint when I can. Developmentally disabled, physically and cognitively disabled. I'm not really part of any online faction or another, even ones that claim me as a member. The thing in the world most important to me is having love and compassion for other people, although I don't always measure up to my own standards there by a longshot. And individual specific actions and situations and contexts matter a lot more to me than broadly-spoken abstract words and ideas about a topic. My father died in 2014 and that has changed my life a lot in ways that are still evolving, but I wear a lot of his clothes and hats every day since he died and have shown no sign of stopping soon.

12 responses »

  1. [comment edited slightly for privacy reasons, edits within brackets, don’t worry I saved the original and will email you at some point]

    Several weeks ago, I stumbled into your blog for the first time and got lost. It took me hours to find my way out. I haven’t been back since precisely because I was afraid it would happen again . . . and it did. I am supposed to be working late. The work is undone. I think if I leave a posting I can bolt to my car after I hit “submit”. Even though I’m a miserably slow writer, if I don’t stop reading and viewing your vids, I’ll never get home.

    After my first visit, I told some friends about you and the blog. One of my friends, [name#1], told me you used to live in our area and her company, [company#1], helped with your move back east. Then it all came flooding back to me.

    I run a company like [company#1] and I had gotten a call, like [name#1], from your regional center worker (was it [name#2]?) asking if we could help a woman served(?) by [company#2] move to New England. I gave her a bunch of lame excuses about being swamped and not wanting to take on anything new at the time . . . and then I starting ranting about [company#2], which, at the time, was a habit of mine (though not solely regarding [company #2’s specific local branch]).

    What’s their problem? You either serve someone or you don’t, and you serve ’em until the end . . . they’re shirking their responsibilities, etc. I think their excuses were lamer than mine. Was it the old “liability” excuse? The ace in the hole for every big, slow, ponderous, nonprofit helping org. Anything they don’t want to do, or anything different or truly helpful that won’t generate a chunk of cash, is quickly dismissed with, “Well, there are liability issues.” Well, of course there are! There are liability issues with waking up in the morning. But, if that one doesn’t fly, there’s always invoking the board of directors to bail you out . . .”Oh, the board will never agree to that.” If you really want to bury it . . .”The board has liability concerns.”

    Anyway, for the person needing help, my, “I’m just to busy right now ” excuse produces the same result . . . nothing. So, now I lose myself in your blog agreeing with everything you write, and realize I missed the opportunity to meet you . . . and maybe help out a little bit . . . and maybe, for a moment, not be another a-hole, unhelpful helping professional.

    Do you allow your stuff to be reproduced? There’s a bunch of stuff, vids and writings, I’d like to pass on to staff (I’ve found that if I stuff things in their pay envelopes, they will often read it) It would be nice to introduce your work, like the “Unperson” video, with my reaction to [name#2]’s phone call . . . saying “no” to something before you really know what or who you’re saying no to.

    Let me know, please . . . and I’m sorry I didn’t help you when you needed it . . . my loss, no doubt.


  2. M&Ms would kill a parrot.

    He doesn’t like cats, but for some reason he loves meowing. I think it’s because he likes repeating loud, high-pitched noises back and forth with humans in general. (He also speaks and comprehends English, he doesn’t just “repeat words” out of context, but he does like repeating assorted noises with people.)

  3. We taught our cockatiel to say “Here, kitty kitty kitty!” (Fortunately, we didn’t actually have a cat at the time.)

  4. Hi, I’ve been reading your blog for a while. I don’t have autism, but I have ADHD coupled with OCD and sometimes I get sensory overload that seems to mirror what you and other autistic people describe in your experiences. It’s not to the same extent as I think it must be for autistic people, but sometimes, when I’m tired or overstimulated it feels like people are raping my brain when they talk to me and it takes all the energy I have to pay attention to them and respond when all I want to do is rock from side to side and count to 4 over and over in my head until my brain calms down. Also, as a teacher, I’ve learned a lot from your blog about different disability issues that I can apply to my educational philosophy. Anyway, that’s completely besides the point, but that’s why your blog is in my RSS reader. And, my actual comment has nothing to do with this particular blog post, but I didn’t know where else to address it. I was recently reading some of the literature on Barack Obama’s website related to his stance on various issues. The primaries are coming up in my state and I was browsing the candidates sites to help me decide who to support. I was surprised to see that he even had anything to say about disability issues, as this is often overlooked by politicians. I was even more shocked to see that he specifically had a document on Autism Spectrum Disorder related issues. I’d be interested to know what the various reactions to this document have been in the autism community. Do you know anyone who has written about this? Do you, personally, have any opinions on this document?

  5. I’m watching you on CNN right now and I just had the urge to tell you, YOU ARE AMAZING!!! And an unbelievable typist!!

  6. I watched CNN tonight And saw Amanda Baggs for the first time.I was a caregiver in a grouphome for people with Autism.After watching the program tonight i feel so stupid. All that time,and there was no way to interprete the movements and the screams and the smiles correctly.I missed out on so much.We all did.Had i only known what was behind those eyes.I have 2 dogs…maybe i will teach them to meow as well. :) Thank you so much Amanda.So much!

  7. I have always thought animals and the different ways of communication they understand and use delightful. My favorite show as a child was National Geographic.

  8. hi amanda. i seen your video on cnn tonite and i hope you get this. wow i am impressed by you. I have a 7 yr old daughter recently diagnosed. I suggested autism first and they said she dont fit the criteria. after all genetic testing for other disorders came back negitive. needless to say i’m not very fond of doctors. anyway i wanted to say kudo’s to you. please when you get time can we email. i read all of your f.a.q so i understand you dont wanna be harassed. I am sure you will get alot of these requests after tonight, but if you want please email me thank you very much for the great service you are doing to end the stereotypes. my email is [edited to avoid the email getting spammed]
    best of luck to you and your future movies and projects.

  9. Hi, Amanda. My name is, Nicole. And I am, 31 years old. And, I have high functioning, Autism.
    I was diagnosed at the Age of, 18. All through, middle + high school, my teacher’s + therapist’s, thought that, I had LD, but I, didn’t. I just saw your story, on, CNN tonight, and, I think you and I, have a lot of the same, interest’s.

  10. I thought dkmnow meant the M&Ms were for you, or to be taken from you, for stereotype violation. Though I certainly see a trend toward parrot-teaching in this community.

    I wholeheartedly support your efforts toward interspecies impartment.

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