S4 E3 - 10:18:21, 4.39 PM
8:45PM Oct 18, 2021
Lee Skallerup Bessette
Hey everyone, welcome to another episode of the podcast, all the things ADHD. Oh, I am your co host Lee Skallerup Bessette, also known as ready writing on Twitter,
and I'm your co host, Amy Morrison, also known as Did you want on Twitter? And your pain in the ass everywhere else?
Yeah, that's that. Especially to my children. So, um, Amy, you had something that you wanted to talk about? In today's episode, I think it's actually a really good topic to dig into.
Yeah, I think you and I have mentioned a couple times before, what it means when people say to us, if we discuss our diagnosis with them, well, aren't we all just a little bit ADHD? And you want to say no, because what that kind of comment denies is the sort of disabling specificity of your own actual ADHD and then doesn't really allow you to talk about it. Right. So that person reframes your experience as just a, you know, melodramatically described version of what everyone goes through, and therefore you're not entitled to any special consideration. And so I know, everybody knows about that. And everybody hates that. And I'm thinking a little bit more about how do we foreground our own lived experience as a source of expertise with the disabilities that we manage, but still are able to disagree with one another. So this episode, I think, will be useful, both to our neurodivergent listeners who are looking for a way to assert, you know, the power and force of their own lived experience, but also a way for our neuro typical listeners to think about how they can critically engage with other people's lived experience. So it's not just like, you know, the classic thing that conservatives are also always saying about, like political correctness, right? It's like if your identity is marginalized enough, that that Trumps everybody's, you know, reasonable discussion, you know, as long as I, you know, I think the joke was always like a black lesbian in a wheelchair, right? Who was an immigrant? Well, then that person's always right, if you can't critique them at all, and I don't think that's true. So let's split that particular hair today.
Yes. Yes. And, and what are the ones that the in that same vein when it's, you know, talk about ADHD, either for myself or for my kids and people? Isn't that just an excuse, though? Right, that's another one. Isn't that just an excuse? Aren't you just, you know, using that as an excuse to?
What I love about that? One is it's phrased as a question, isn't that just an excuse, but it's not really a question. It's a statement, right? The statement is, you're just using that as an excuse, right. And I think that's probably the first characteristic of not great engagement with neuro divergence that we can flag and that is judgment, right out the gate. So, you know, Lee makes a statement number one, about living with ADHD or parenting with ADHD or parenting, ADHD, and someone jumps in the comments right away. And it's like, but isn't that just an excuse? So that's not really a question. And it tries to shut down the conversation. Right? Yeah,
exactly. And because there's because there's no response to it, right there literally you there. You can you can go down the rabbit hole of well, it's a it's not an excuse, it's a reason and what's the difference between reasonable excuse me, you know, when you're trying to, and it's really disempowering, as well. Because often, when you're hit with that you're trying to explain to someone, again, as you said, that lived experiences like, I struggle with this because of my ADHD. That's, you know, that there's a lot of nuance there or an attempted nuance anyways, that when I'm doing and I'm sure when you're doing it, too, that you're trying to describe, and it's not, again, it's not an easy thing to describe. Right? Like, it isn't an easy thing to say, you know, I struggle with executive functioning because of my ADHD. Right? And for those reasons, I am often late or I have a lot of calendar. You know, announcement or, you know, I'm really bad at spreadsheets. My Files organized.
It's just an excuse. Li
Yeah, to not do it. Yes, that's exactly. That's exactly it.
That's the end of our conversation. Yeah. Right, like so as soon as I jump in, and you're trying to explain, you're in a place of vulnerability where you're saying, like, I'm actually bad at these things, right? I wish I wasn't. It's really hard. And I'm trying and I still really struggle with this. And I'm like, isn't that just an excuse, though, I'm executing a moralizing. Right, which is saying that you are in fact failing to do the thing. But now you're just post facto trying to rationalize your bad behavior. Right? So I'm not acknowledging the vulnerability it took for you to say that, yeah, I know, I'm actually bad at these things. And when you say that you struggle, and I say, isn't that just an excuse? What I'm actually not questioning, but making a statement of is, I don't think it's a struggle, I think you're just not doing it. Yeah. And you never intend to do it, and you're not going to do
it. Or, or that, you know, and again, it's all of those things that you're lazy, you're not trying hard enough, you know, like this is, it's an excuse for all of these other moral judgments that we have, or that are contained in that, again, especially with women with ADHD, we've internalized those messages our entire lives, absolutely free day, particularly pre diagnosis when we didn't know what was going on, and why we struggled with these things. And so we had to hide the struggle for them, and just overcompensating and perfectionism, and the anxiety and the depression, and all of those things that come out later on, where it's just like, oh, you had ADHD all along? And it's, you know, so it's even that extra layer of vulnerability when you're trying to explain these things. It's like, Look, you're not telling me anything I haven't already told myself. And so the, the vulnerability on top of it of actually trying to undo those years of internalized messages and self loathing, and, and all of that, and then to have it like, shut down again, with that exact same narrative. Yeah, for so long.
Yeah. So like, everyone should know that most people with a neurological disability, have spent a long time hating themselves, right and feeling ashamed of the ways in which we do not measure up to normative expectations. We already knew that. And we already felt very bad about that. And that a lot of us spend a lot of time in therapy, learning how to forgive ourselves for the things that we find so difficult to do. And of course, at the same time, we are trying to find ways to work around this difficulty so that we're not, you know, dumping our dysfunction on to other people or producing harms for others, right? Like we're already in it takes a lot of therapy to to sort of undo that in ourselves that sort of self blame and self shame. And so it's very not helpful when people revert right back to that narrative. And they might say, Yeah, but I don't really know about that. Okay, well, then why are you leading with judgment? Yeah, right. Why are you leading with? Isn't that just an excuse? What you might say? So here's my suggestion. So I'm not just going to call bullshit on people's like shitty questions, which are actually just judgments with a question mark appended to them, right? We're happy to come at something with curiosity. So if I'm meeting you for the first time, Lee and you tell them I'm like, Oh, you have ADHD podcast. With that astonishingly handsome woman? Did you woke up and I feel like, I don't I don't really know a lot about ADHD from from listening to that. And, like, it strikes me really sure a lot about your personal life. And I might say, why do you think that is? Or like, how does that make you feel like I would open a space for you to tell me something if you're like, you know, I can't make lunches for my kids. I'm just not like, I really struggle with this kind of thing. And so everybody eats like, you know, tater tots and whatever. And instead of saying, like, isn't that just an excuse? But if I said, like, that sounds like you really, there's a mismatch between what you want to do? And what you're like, able to do that I've never experienced? Like, can you tell me like, how does that work in your brain? Like, what if we approach people with curiosity, instead of saying, like, I didn't already know about this, and I'm full of cultural scripts that told me this is wrong, that I didn't really pay a lot of attention to because it wasn't that salient to me. But here's someone that I love, in front of me telling me a story. I think the first thing I'm going to do is revert to those half known half truths that I was half listening to, that I saw on People Magazine once and shut this whole conversation down. That feels like the right thing to do. Right?
And even if it's somebody that you don't love, you know, it's it's there is to go into a conversation like this with a colleague with, you know, somebody at a party, right? Maybe even you know, these wouldn't be necessarily conversations you're having with strangers on the street. Although, if they've got ADHD, they may just choose oversharing.
I'm not worried about people.
No, me neither was my kids constantly asked me why are you talking to them? Yeah, exactly. Best friends. Yeah. No, we're best friends. Um, but, but again, there's this idea of being able to treat people with a degree of of humanity. I mean, maybe that just goes without saying but I mean, this is kind of What we're getting to is that like the the norm diversion of what we think human beings should be, is, is the is the problematic part where, you know, especially in I find and and I find it, especially in American culture now that I've done here and compared to Canada, but it's still there. It's very sort of North American west, we're Western bootstrap, right? Where individualism Yeah, individualism where if there is something wrong with you, then there must be something wrong with you with you. Yes.
You Yeah. Never with me like this, no interaction is difficult for me. The problem is obviously, you
you right. Now, that's all and that's really hard to that's really hard to navigate. And it makes it hard I find, you know, it's one thing to have it with your your intimates with lazy and Tim, as you know, in French people that you love the people you care about. But it makes it really difficult to have productive work, workplace conversations, where in a lot of cases, this is what's needed to be able to figure out well, how do we compose a team? How do we make sure that we are all working together towards this goal? How do we make sure that we do it, accomplish something before the deadline? Yeah, where, you know, there need there, there needs to be a space and to be able to meet with with that kind of humanity and openness, somebody who will disclose, I'm not very good at these, this particular part of this larger task that we are working together. Because what I'm I'm not trying, like you said, I'm not trying to get out of doing the work. What I'm trying to do is not disappoint the team by saying that I ahead of time, I can't, you know, this will be a struggle for me, Are there ways we can work together to be able to achieve our goal without me having a nervous breakdown, and everyone getting super pissed at me?
Right? Right. So what you're looking for there is you're having a conversation with someone who's lived experiences different from yours, right? And you are speaking in this case, from a position of marginality, right? So you identify as a disabled person, you have a neurological form of difference. That means that your brain operates differently from the expected norm and in fact, differently from the majority, right? And when you make a disclosure related to that, often people who are in the numerical majority will think that because they have the majority position, that it is your job to conform to the majority position, right, rather than to say, since I have a majority position, and a majority of the sort of like identity location and a majority understanding of how this should go, I don't know anything about your life. Could you explain it to me? Right? And like, that's what I'm looking for from people is that kind of curiosity, right? So you know, my husband, who is like incredibly organized, incredibly organized, he's like Mr. lists, and Mr. write stuff down and Mr. Like for reminders for all the appointments, and he's like, I don't understand how you keep, like, missing all this stuff. And I'm like, I get overwhelmed. And then I panic, I put stuff in my calendar, but then I'm too afraid to check my calendar or like, he's like, what you make a list. I'm like, Look, here's what happens like your end. And he will say, I'll help you. Does that make sense? And he said, Well, listen, no, like, it doesn't make sense. But I understand what you're saying. He's like, it doesn't make sense to me, because that's not my experience of trying to stay organized at work, right. But he is, sort of intellectually and psychologically, flexibly enough, he has enough theory of mind, that's an autism joke, enough theory of mind to say that
Amy's experience of list making and calendaring and executive function is 100%. authentic to Amy, and it is completely different from mine. Right? And I won't understand it. Unless I ask amy questions about her experience. I'm never going to like, empathize with her. I'm never going to be like, Oh, me, too, which isn't like another thing when people say like, well, aren't we all just a little bit ADHD is they're trying to claim your experience within their sort of norm eight experience, right? Which diminishes what you're trying to explain to them, which is a fundamental difference, right? So people like Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, that happens to me to think that they're being nice. Sometimes what they're really doing is not listening. They're not allowing you to explain your form of difference, right? And so like, that's, I think, like, a general kind of mistake that people make is they try to make the disabled person feel better by saying, like, Oh, God, me too. Like this one time. I didn't bring a library book back, like one time library. One time, I am banned from municipal library systems in at least two provinces of this country, right? Because I never bring but like, now I feel worse, because they're like, Oh, it's totally normal to do that one time. Yeah, right. And now I know everything I need to know about you and we don't have to discuss it anymore. And I'm like, but I'm a broken person, right? Yeah. So some people are trying to be nice to you, by incorporating your experience into what they already know. by themselves, which means they're not listening. And then you feel squashed. Right? Yeah. And that's like the first problem. And I think the second problem, the one that I think is a bit more difficult to address like to those people who say, like, Just shut up and listen for a bit, could you just just listen and say, That's not my experience, but I believe you that that's your experience? Yeah. The second part is, is sometimes you will have a legitimate disagreement of opinion, with someone with a neurological difference. And I think we actually that you and I model that pretty well, on this podcast. Yep. Because one of our recurring catchphrases is, it will surprise no one that I have a completely different experience from the exam, right? At least once in every episode, you're like, here's how I cope with that. And I'm like, I would rather die, right? And I'm like, here's my solution to everything. And you're like, I could not go. Nope. Right. So like my nightmare. Right? Exactly, exactly. I think we both were both ADHD women, right? We both were diagnosed roughly the same time we both Jake, you know, drugs, a therapy to help us be our best selves. But we're still different from one another. And like, if I was going to come on here and say, like, you know, I think the really important thing, Lee is that we all get to go to the office where we don't get to do laundry, or drive kids around during the day. And that would be best for all ADHD people. And I know that because I have ADHD. And you might be like, but is that best for everyone? Yeah, right. And you would say like, but is that best for everyone? Right? Because I don't think that would work for me. And then it's my job to be like, Oh, can you explain that to me a bit more. And that's what we do on this podcast, we have different lived experiences of ADHD. And we make space for that. And sometimes on the podcast, because we are too highly educated, professional class, sis had married teenager having white ladies actually have a lot more in common with each other than we do with most other people who have ADHD. But we try to make space rhetorically right? To say, Well, you know, maybe I have an advantage here, because of my financial privilege, or my language privilege, or whatever it happens to be right? professional, professional privilege, like all of these privileges, right? But sometimes somebody who has lived experience of a disorder you're going to have a legitimate disagreement of opinion with and I'd like to think maybe about how it's not to get out of jail free card, right? Like, I have ADHD and autism. So if I tell you this about autism, y'all can shut up because I'm right. Right? Because you don't have that experience? And I do. And I don't think that's what anybody actually is asking for. So can you think a little bit about how we can respect somebody's lived experience, but still articulate maybe a disagreement with them about like a plan of action or a working strategy? or what have you?
But I think that's a that's a really, that's a really difficult question. And I experience it even within my own home, right? Because I have two kids, two kids who have ADHD, and two kids who have very different presentations of it, so to speak, right there, there's the Venn diagram of like, you and me some similarities, but in a lot of cases, there's a lot of difference. And I've talked about this before, how my, my daughter is very concerned with fairness. Right? And so it's challenging to have a discussion with her about how we're negotiating my son's ADHD versus her ADHD, which he doesn't even like to talk about, but that's a whole other thing right together. But it's like, why this and not this, right? Why this with him and this with me, and that's normal in siblings anyways, but in this particular case, it is just there on completely different medications, right, and very, completely different sort of path around that and struggle with very different things. And so trying to you know, again explain that to her to get her to understand is like you are very different people and you guess you have the same diagnosis, but you present in very different ways. And so therefore, you know, we have to negotiate different things and if things aren't aren't working with the sun, then we come back and renegotiate it, but, you know, if it's working, but it's not what's going on with you, and what's going on with you is working, then why are we having this? About what about strategies? Right? It's so it's, it's, again, it's hard when it's a teenage daughter, and you know, but but it's, it's something about, I'm finding again, it's it's again, that openness, right? That openness to somebody else's experience of it, and their positionality within it, right people don't like any of these terms. intersectionality but it's, you know, there's a difference than being a 14 year old girl. In high school than it is to be a 12 year old boy in middle school. Right? With or without the ADHD, you add the ADHD to that. And you have these, these competing layers of, you know of challenges. Yeah, in that particular case, and so it's, it's, my son doesn't care. If you just just like, Whatever, let's just see if I can I play my video games when I come home from school that I don't really care all that much, where she's like, always watching and being like, so what is he getting that I? Or like, what are we doing with him? That is not with me, or what am I doing that he is not doing? And then, and so. So it's this, it's this constant, not negotiation, but a constant conversation around, you know, around these things, and again, trying to get her to have an openness to another, you know, and somebody who she loves and who she lives with his interactions with a regular basis, but, but still to understand, it's different. Yeah.
I guess that's a little bit like another reason that most neurodivergent people don't like their friends and family and strangers to say, like, oh, you're just doing that right now, because of your ADHD, or your bipolar, or schizophrenia, or your autism. Because that's, like, a little bit dehumanizing and instrumentalizing. Also, disorder, right? Like, sometimes I just, I don't like the loud noise you're making right now, because I'm trying to read a book. And other times, I don't like the loud noise, because it's grating on my soul. And I'm going to start crying. Like there's different ways that I don't like loud noises and socializing, right? Like, and it would be wrong for someone else to attribute my my preferences to my disorder, because it's my disorder, it's not their disorder, and they don't get to decide that, right? So So mileage may vary. I'm thinking also of some conflicts, like, maybe that you have been involved in. But I know that as a professor, and as an administrator, a program administrator, and in various leadership roles that I've had, something that sometimes gets launched at me by people, is I thought you of all people would understand where, you know, like, so sometimes there will be like a case. I don't know, like, I'll make something up here where I'm in a leadership role. And I have to enforce a consequence on on someone and they'll be like, yes, but I'm, you know, I'm ADHD, and I'll be like, Okay, well, here are some things we can do. And they don't like any of the things that I've suggested. And I'll be like, Well, then, like, this is the what's going to happen if you don't take any of those consequences, then like, what's naturally going to what any of these options and the consequences is going to be the side or the other. And what they want sometimes, is because I have ADHD, and they have ADHD, is I should just smooth the entire path for them, so that they don't have to do anything, right. And so when I'm like, Well, you know, reasonable accommodation would be, you know, hand this thing in late or like, make it shorter, or just hand in the drop that you have, and go for partial marks or, or whatever it is, and they will get really angry. And what they will say to me is I thought you of all people would understand, right, which means that because I have ADHD, I am not going to like in my mind, what I'm doing is trying to find a way for them to succeed, right? Like, as you said earlier, like, it's not that I'm trying to get out of doing the work for you, I want to do the work, like I'm sharing my vulnerabilities with you so that we can assign tasks within this group, so that I do my fair share of the work. And that it's a share of the work that is not going to tax me unduly relative to what other people are doing. And when I tried to make that happen, sometimes for people that I that I hold like authority over, they get really angry about it, and they don't want to write. So sometimes, like I know, maybe have a bit more of a backbone in this because I am also neurodivergent. And I'll be like, no, right? I'm not being ablest. I'm giving you a lot of different options here. And I'm trying to help you succeed. And you get to choose because like you are not completely defined by this disability, and I'm trying to help you. But often sometimes other. Other people in positions of authority will say, Oh, well, they said that they're disabled. And so now I can't disagree with them. Like if they say that none of the seven options I've given them is reasonable. I guess I'm just going to give this person an A, and we'll move on. Right? Which then actually does not help anybody because the student, you know, benefits from your low expectations of them. Right? Yeah, it's not actually receiving the same education as other people. And it benefits it takes away from sort of disabled activism as a whole because what the the neurotypical person learns there is you have to give disabled people what they want, you have to lower your standards for them, right? Yeah, just because they have this identity and you're not allowed to say anything. It's like how people talked about political correctness, right? Like, oh, you're the whatever, I can't have any standards and it puts all of us back, right? So we have to find ways to To productively account for someone's lived experience such that we don't squash it by saying, isn't that just an excuse? Or? Oh, well, we're all like that I understand, right? So find a way to make space for the specificity of someone's experience their lived experience with their disability, but also acknowledge it, everybody has to find a way to move the ball forward, together, right? So you can disagree with people, right? You can say, you know, somebody might say, like, as a, as a disabled person, like, I have to say your website is is too low contrast, and it's not available to screen readers that are like, Oh, we should fix that, you know, but if they say, like, as a disabled person, like, this color really upsets me, because I'm autistic, and I hate this color, and then you'd be like, okay, that's great that you're autistic. Maybe you can set your screen to black and white for this. But you know, what you're describing is, I think, a little bit unique to you. And it's not a known factor. So even though that is your lived experience, we don't have to account for that right. Now. Does that distinction make sense to you? Yeah.
No, I think that that makes a lot of sense. And I think one of the other just one of the other roadblocks that comes up to being able to have productive conversations is, again, just make about my daughter, but I think it's it we hear it, especially in higher education, but I think generally, and I've heard this a lot is is this idea of fairness, right? If we have these accommodations, it's not fair to everyone, or if we, you know, talk about these these sorts of issues and come up with solutions to them, then it's not fair to everyone. And so in the, in the guise of fairness. Right, right, in the guise of fairness, and one of the, I don't remember if I've said this on the podcast before, but one of the, since the, the pandemic, and particularly around grades and grading and students not being able to get stuff in and people giving all kinds of extensions for all kinds of reasons, because the frickin sucks. And one of them, you know, was like, Well, you know, it's, I guess it's okay, but how is this? How is this fair for the students who came before in this class? Right? Who didn't get all of these, you know, special? accommodations, dispensations, whatever.
They were super, really disadvantaged by not trying to go to school in the middle of a global pandemic, exactly. 7000 Americans, right? Like, they were, damn, they really missed out on that advantage. And so
like, basically, I just I blurted it out, because this is who I was at, he was like, What about any of this is fair, like, none of this is fair, there is nothing about our current situation that is fair to anyone. Right? And, and it was this great moment of kind of, aha, where, you know, we we, we often and I'm even myself, right, as somebody who has ADHD and neurodivergent we tend to use the shield of fairness. Yeah. as a as a shield through right
as sadness. Yeah, fairness, construed as sameness, right? And that is a conflation. I think that's at the root of most of our trouble here. And I would say, readers, readers, listeners, write this down. Because this is this is a trap because we all believe in fairness, does anybody ever say like, you know, I'd really like to promote unfairness in the world like fairness is one of those things, right? Like freedom. We just like of course everybody does that, you know, the same everybody is for chocolate chip cookies, everybody is for fairness, like, obviously, what kind of monster are you, but fairness and sameness are not identical. They're just not right. So a fair process for one person is maybe not going to be the same as a fair process for another person. And that's what Cassie struggles with, right? Like, yeah, fairness, construed as sameness and if we can, that's like norms. It's like norms, right? We assume that there's one right way, right? That will fit everybody and if it fits everybody, which it never did, and it's fair because it's the same right but if we can acknowledge that people are quite different and that like on on everything from like, height, to skin color to farsightedness, nearsightedness to neuro divergence, we are all on 10 different spectrums simultaneously. How could sameness ever be fair? How could it right? So that's the DOJ right? There is like fairness is not sameness. fairness means just like accessibility legislation everywhere says is the removal of unnecessary barriers. Right, right. Like if I, if everybody's trying to run a race, and I'm the only person without shoes, so somebody gives me a new pair of shoes. That's not unfair, because everybody didn't get brand new shoes. It Right, it's
fair because it is here in the States. Let
me tell you But I didn't have any shoes. Right? And so it wouldn't be fair for me to run the race against nine people with shoes. And I don't have any shoes. Right? So but this is like people will now want to fight me. Yeah, about this. Like, they'll say, well, your new shoes are probably better like yes. But before I had no shoes, right? So
not all of those people who ran the race before you without shoes and did just fine.
Well, what about all those other kids that bought shoes? Right? They had the good sense to show up here with a fully functional pair of shoes or a fully functional executive function brain. If you see the analogy, I'm getting no I do I buy. That's where that's where the issue is, right? The issue is fairness construed as sameness. Now there was something I read Lee, in one of your blog posts, we had a little bit of a discussion about it on Twitter, and you were talking about whether people should have to be present in class.
Oh, yeah. Yes. And I was like, wait, what did I say?
look on your face. He's like, I wrote so many things.
Like, Oh, God, please don't go too far back in time, because
that's like people, people will say, I heard you on the radio. And I'm like, Okay, I'm sorry. But what was I talking about? Yeah, I honestly have no idea. Yeah, yeah. It could be anything. Yeah, really good. Yeah. And we were like, how many people? Would we like, do we have to lose anyone? And you and I had a bit of a discussion about what does it mean to give a compassionate withdrawal? Like to so yeah, like, yeah, right about whether you like whether that's, that's fair, or not, or whether like, so here we are two neurodivergent people deeply interested in accessible education and universal design and like being less jack, gassy and gatekeeping. About stuff. But we still have differing opinions about whether a withdrawal is actually an academic accommodation, or a failure of academic accommodation. Right? But neither one of us is saying to the other Well, I am this kind of person, and therefore you must Shut up, right? But neither is the other. Are we saying to the other person? Well, you are, you have these diagnoses? Therefore Shut up, right? Yeah, somehow, we managed to have divergent opinions from one another. But we can discuss it with reference to our own lived experience, but not using that lived experience as a weapon to smash our own selves, or the other person. Exactly.
And this is where context comes in. Right? Where my experiences here in the in the States, particularly when I was talking about this was at the at a at a university that I used to work at that served the some of the poorest zip codes in the United States. And these are students who are on Pell Grants, but also taking out tremendous amounts of loans. And these are students for whom, right? Even just like they've, they've shown they've done, the studies have shown that these students are short, just a little bit of money, or they don't finish and they just have a little bit of debt, not even the debt that you hear about down here are 570 $5,000 in debt, or I'm $250,000. In student loan debts. No, these students are sometimes just in $5,000 student loan debts, and it destroys them, because that's how, and so a withdraw can sometimes be catastrophic financially for them. Because it, it could affect their eligibility, it can affect their full time status, it's a course that they have paid for and gotten into debt for but didn't get credit for. And that counts against the amount of Pell Grant they can earn over the long term. Which is, you know, again, so that the it's it's again, that that sort of lived experience of this is what I've seen my students do, but on the same time saying, like, yeah, you're right, though, sometimes, she's like, you just got to take that the compassionate w like that is that is an important accommodation that I don't want them to take off the books, I want them to be able to apply and say like, my family member died, I'm currently homeless. I there is no way for me to be able to get through this semester.
Well, here's the thing, like, we both agree on that 1% that this is financially ruinous for some people, right? And a compassionate web, you're going to have to take that course again, or they're going to delay their graduation, which should happen like so I see this a lot. This is very, very common, you'll have a student that just never shows up. Or a student that comes to week one. And then in week 14, you know, you had the grades, and they're like, Oh, I need like, Can I write all the essays now? I know, but you didn't learn anything like that. But they have reasons right? And the reasons are compelling. And there's like legitimately no way like what am I teaching that I could just say, Oh yeah, write three essays in week 15. And you will have got that education that you paid for you will get a credit that you paid for but you will not have learned anything and also your life. Is it like a self avowed trash fire. I really don't think that if you could not come to class once a week for 12 weeks that you're going to be able to write The kinds of papers that you are proposing to write and the kind of timeline that you're proposing to read it of such quality, that you will in fact be able to pass the course, at all.
Recognize that ambition?
Yeah, I recognize that. Yeah, I mean, but like, but but people who, like legitimately have not attended the entire course, like and you know who I'm talking about? Because every semester Oh, yeah.
Oh, no, I, we, we I mean, this is the flip side of the issue, particularly the at the school that I was working at, is that we literally had Pell Grant fraudsters, which Oh, sure, on the one hand, it's like, if you are in that much financial dire financial situation, that you are going to lie about going to school in order to get some money in order to survive fine. But the university has to pay that money back. Right, right. Like there's all of this, like complicated. And again, we can talk about the fairness of student loans, and Pell Grants and stuff, and all that kinds of stuff. But it's Yes, I'm well aware of those students. And sometimes it was their lives. And sometimes, it was their lives, but not
likely. But the thing is, yeah, but the thing is, if I'm going to let that student write those essays, or I'm gonna lower my expectations of the qualities of those essays, the student has not learned anything, they got a credit, they were denied an education, right, they were denied that they paid for something, they didn't get any return, they got something on their transcript. And it's also unfair in that way to the other students. And he was like, I don't want them to take the financial hit from there. But if somebody showed up for week one, and literally did not even log into the courseware, for the rest of the semester, they should get their money back. Like if they are sick. Yeah, they should get their money back that yes, the issue, right? If people could get their money back and get a mulligan on that, I don't think you would be helping people pass. Right, you would know, like, just start over. It's unreasonable to expect you you've been gone all semester with depression, and I'm sure it's not gonna make you at all anxious to try to do five courses of work. In two weeks before the grading deadline is done. You're not going to do that. You're absolutely yeah, right. But if people do not actually, it's not like they attended until the end of week eight. And then like flamed out, they'd be like, well, you got most of the course. Right? But the people who were really never there, we think we should be able to give the money back. But you can't, right? Because of complex bureaucratic reasons. So for me worthy accommodation there ought to be happening is a recognition of like, you know, you, your dad died in the second week of term and you were so blown out about it while still intending to go to school that you never came to class. But you also didn't withdraw. Like you honestly made an honest mistake. You're It was a tragedy, we're going to give you your money back. But there's no way that that's ever going to happen. But the pressure will be put, like, downline on two individual faculty members to like say sure, right, all those papers over Christmas, read the entire textbook, do all the participation exercises, right, three papers and do a final, you know, but do that for all of your classes, or whatever, right? And that's like, That's not fair. So these are ways where like, somebody lived experience, we need to take it into account. But sometimes you have to be the person that says no, because sometimes the person is like, No, no, I can really do it. Right? I can do all these things in five days, like, No, you can't, and I think it'd be harmful to your health to try right or you miss so much of this course that I don't think that you took it right or, or like whatever it happens to be, you're like, I don't think sometimes we have to have these conversations with our elderly relatives about why they are no longer allowed to drive their cars. But I don't, but their lived experiences like this is who I am as a person, and I need to do anything and be like, I acknowledge that you're very stuck on this, like, however, right? Yeah, so you don't say like, you know, you don't know what you're talking about. Because when someone says, but I need to drive, like they do know what they're talking about. They absolutely do need to drive, right. So you don't just say, Well, too bad because the doctor says you can't write but you can say like, let's think about the things that you need to be driving for. And we'll we'll work around that we'll find a way to work around that which respects the person's lived experience, but also faces the reality, you know, of someone with sort of mid range dementia, or a certain amount of like sensory loss or lack of mobility in their arms, or even their necks, they can't see where they're going, should not be driving and you don't deny someone's like individuality and identity and lived experience for that. But you can go say even though it's very important to you, and I acknowledge why, like we're going to have a discussion of we're going to, like meet your needs. But just because you you know where my father or whatever it happens to be doesn't mean that your identity Trumps what the reality of the situation is, the reality of the situation is not the standard way of doing things. The reality of the situation is like, is this safe? Is this doable? Right? Will the solution I'm offering to you disadvantage other people in a way that's not fair? Like if I give somebody extra time on an exam, cool, that doesn't disadvantage literally Anybody else? Yes. Like it really doesn't. But if I let someone just do a truncated final, instead of all of the exams and assignments in the course and give them the same credit that kind of does disadvantage the other students because this person is getting the same credit without having done the work or done the learning. Like it's for me, it's not about performing the work. It's about doing Learning right? So yeah, lived experience. You never downplay like someone's experience of something like you shouldn't you shouldn't say we're all a little bit ADHD or you're just saying that because you're autistic or isn't that just an excuse, there should be a way that we can listen empathetically to someone's lived experience, acknowledge that lived experience, but then work towards a shared goal from those experiences. Right? Well,
I think and this reminds me because that we were talking before we started about my own experience of people getting into arguments on my Facebook posts around accommodate accessibility accommodations, neurodivergent See, and all of that were, you know, it was between two people, one of one of the people was having a lived experience of parenting an autistic child. The other one was somebody who had the experience of being a teacher and a school administrator for, you know, 40 years for their entire lives have long retired now, during a certain period of time as well, right? Like it's not they're no longer a teacher now. But we're danger probably 25 years ago
for a very big my principal.
Yeah, well, yeah, exactly. Right. And so they clearly have deep, deep, deep seated frustrations around their own lived experience of being a teacher in this certain system. And I think that that's sometimes where we have a difficulty around the conversations where we out, we are getting frustrated, and that frustration comes out in our treatment of individuals. Yes. Because really what our frustration needs to be directed to are those systems that are in place, right? Like that's, that's such a much harder conversation to have, in order to make the changes. It's not like I can, and I'm thinking from a teacher's perspective, right, like, and like what we just said, like, we should be able to reimburse students, but we can't. And so it is that student who ends up in a way suffering, we try to alleviate that or minimize it, but at the end of the day, right, we could get angry at that student.
Right? And that student will get angry
at us. Yes, exactly. Because that's the easy thing to do. You're right in front of there right in front of you, you're right in front of them. But you can also, especially if you're in a position of more authority, you can control that situation. Right? You have agency over that situation, in a way that if you say it's the system, it's really hard to find agency within that, and have a productive conversation. Because it's like, well, I can't control the system. There's nothing I can do with this system. I feel powerless in the face of this system. But I can control how I you know, what I'm doing in
the ls this person right here, I can police people's Facebook posts. Yeah. Right.
But I mean, I think that there's and then it's becomes really hard because people don't want to hear about the quote unquote, system, particularly here in the States. But But ultimately, I think that that's where some of these disconnects come from, is that we're directing our frustration. And, and misinterpreting, in a way, maybe misinterpreted is too strong a word, but our own lived experiences or
drawing the wrong conclusions, perhaps from our own little miss directions. If we're talking about this direction,
there we go. That's a much better word. Yeah. And
you know, the, I have some potential solutions for that, which I think would make an excellent episode next week. Yeah, where we could
we both have meetings that we go to very slowly ended on a cliffhanger this week. But
well, I'll tell you what I'm going to give like everybody homework if they want to think about what the solutions would be, because I think I'm going to lead next week by thinking about how the articulation of shared goals among people with who are different from one another can help us create a path to manage lived experience, disagreement, and structures. So yeah, everybody, everybody at home, everybody in your car, everybody's listening to this when they're supposed to be asleep. Think about
or when they're doing chores or housework or other writers or housework we're making it more interesting for you avoiding
chores or housework, or listening to this in the shower because they won't get in the shower unless they have something to listen to at the same time. All those people let's think
that's that's weird. I don't want to visualize that.
I don't want to be in the shower with anybody.
I'm not really sure I you know, I, even as a former swimmer who oversharing was like,
how did we get here we were just so smart about 40 seconds ago, and then I interrupted and now it's devolved into public nudity,
or private nudity, where we're just sort of unknowingly in
on it. It's Oh my god. Now my brain is broken. I forgot what I thought I ever had in my life. So I'm ready for my meeting I guess Yeah,
same but I think that this is something that I want to talk about next time too is that for a lot of us and I'm thinking to myself, but I know this generally I shockingly don't like conflict. Right? Like I shy away from it and sort of recoil from it where you know there are these heated Facebook posts going on. I'm just like, why can't we just all get along? Because some people are stupid. Well, there's that too.
Sorry. That's okay. Okay, we have to stop this now before I say something really, really rude.
Yeah, but but I think that that's something we can talk about next time to is this like, how do we how do we ease our way into this? When the last thing when you know that we have the fight or flight and the flight is just overwhelming the fight instinct and we don't even want to fight we don't want it to be a fight but we're going to flight anyways. Because this is like I
What a great episode we're gonna have next week. It's gonna be amazing, right? We have to write this down, Lisa that we remember what we said
was a transcript. There'll be a
I'll send you the transcript is does the
transcript have all the things in it?
It has all the things and then some Not gonna lie. It has some surprising things in it when it just misunderstands what it is that we've said.
Oh my god, it's not respecting my lived experience as someone who uses a lot of slang. Okay. All right. Thank you, everyone for listening.
Thanks, everyone. And again, I am ready writing on Twitter. Amy is did you want on Twitter, you can always email us at all the things email@example.com actually, please do. I'm tired of getting these. Nothing but spam emails trying to get me to like, promote weird life coaches on the show. I have figured out how to get
off we have an opportunity for you.
Yeah. Oh, world renowned life coach, and I'm like, Oh, gosh. Oh, my great. Nope. But anyways, so please do email us. I'd really like to hear from someone that's not spam. And we'll be back next week and we'll carry on with this conversation.
Whoa. Hi, everybody. Thanks, everyone.