I wrote the short story Poor Interfaces knowing that for some, the subject of people with intellectual disabilities would be a touchy one. In the fictional story, Paul has outburst issues and his caregiver, Russell, assists him with this through the use of cranial implants. This innovative intervention has become the accepted science of the day but a sequence of events occurs that cause changes for everyone involved.
Those that are not familiar with the population, first think of the cute Down syndrome child at a Special Olympic event, that they’ve seen on television. The attitude that this group or related subject matter is too delicate to talk about comes more from those that aren’t as well informed as they could be. Any that have worked in the field and/or those with a friend or family member who has a disability, understand that achievement levels, diagnosis and on-going struggles are unique for each individual. There is no such thing as a cut in stone stereotype that applies to all who are intellectually disabled. The reality is that this population is as diverse as any group of people as are their wants and needs.
After being a part of these individuals’ lives for more than thirty years, I’ve gained a wealth of knowledge and a unique perspective. This sometimes-emotional but always rewarding journey, led me to write Poor Interfaces. From the staff that deals with daily hands-on tasks, to those that have administrative and clinical responsibilities, respect and kindness is the common factor, which will lead to lasting advancements.
On the science side, there will always be advancements for those with disabilities. What we think of today as science fiction may very well be commonplace within a decade or less. Regardless of the nuances, all advances must be tempered with the need to see each person as an individual. That way, there’s less chance to lose focus on the reason we are trying to help.
If anything, there needs to be a lot more stories about the intellectually disabled. As long as the subject matter is handled respectfully, the increased exposure can only further educate and enrich us all.
Lloyd A. Green
I enjoy the mystery that writing a good story offers. Effective writing has occurred when the reader is forced to quickly look over their shoulder.