Help develop ableist microagressions scale

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Shanna K. Kattari is doing some great research. She interviewed me and a bunch of other people recently so she could begin to design a survey around ableist microaggressions. There are some scales and questionnaires around racial and ethnic and other micoaggressions already, but there hasn’t been a formal one around ableism.

Shanna is not implying that racial or ethnic microaggressions are the same as ableist microaggressions. And besides, some people experience microaggressions directed at different parts of their identities like both ethnic and ableist (and sexist and transphobic and etc.).

The point is that until people can recognize what’s an ableist microaggression, it’s gonna be hard to stop using them and hard to fix the personal, public health, and policy consequences of these microaggressions. Consequences range from people feeling ostracized, demoralized, and isolated to institutionalization, overmedication, refusing to give full medical exams because clinics won’t make exam rooms accessible, and forcing young people to carry heavy batteries in a backpack all day when the batteries provide power to shock devices that are used against them to teach them to “behave better.” And on and on. It’s dark stuff, and yet, it’s still so easy for so many people to crack jokes at the expense of people with disabilities or impairments, to rank the “fakers” versus the “real” ones, to use disability as a plot twist in a show, or a reason to dismiss people all together.

So here’s a refresher on microaggressions.

Visit The Microaggressions Project online to read examples from people who were subjected to these nasty comments (that, yes, are sometimes intended as compliments but fail).

And this handy Disability Microaggressions Bingo Card is available for your perusal, snickering at, and wishing you could erase from the universe.

Bingo card with a range of microaggressions written in the squares.

Shanna is now looking for volunteers of all abilities and disabilities to take her survey on ableist microaggressions.

Here’s all the info, straight from Shanna, that you’ll need to participate in her study about the microaggressions scale or to contact her.

The study consists of a 20-30 minute online anonymous survey. To qualify for the study, you must be 18 years of age or older and live in the United States. You do not have to be disabled or a person with disabilities to take this survey.

Microaggressions are everyday interactions perpetuating inequalities and stereotypes against people who belong to marginalized communities.

Examples of ableist microaggressions may include telling someone that they speak very well for a Deaf person, asking everyone to stand or requiring people to stand in line (with the assumption that everyone can stand), making a joke about how fast someone can go in their wheelchair, or telling someone they are “lucky” that they are able to bring their service dog to work with them.

Why participate? You can:

  • Help out a doctoral candidate
  • Increase knowledge and understanding around ableist microaggressions
  • Provide information to create an Ableist Microaggressions Scale
  • Enter to win one of 10 $50 gift cards for your participation

This is for Shanna’s dissertation research regarding ableist microaggressions. Her committee chair is Dr. Eugene Walls, associate professor in the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver. This study has been approved by the University of Denver Institutional Review Board #807206.
If you are interested in participating, please visit the survey here . If you have questions or need further information, please email or call (720) 273-3288. Please feel free to repost and/or share with your social networks.

Shanna K. Kattari, M.Ed