Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

If an individual found that any of their first four needs were in deficiency, then they wouldn’t be able to effectively pursue their growth needs for a sustained period of time.

Source: http://www.interiorsandsources.com

I like to use Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs when I advocate. It’s pretty hard to argue against. It’s convincing. Today I am going to wade a vicarious path through the garden of ‘Deficits’ for people with a disability. How we spend a fair whack of our time in the purple sector of this hierarchy working on overcoming deficits. Not a word I really like but it’s used in the article I have referred to.

There is so much written about autistic lives. How challenging we are. How difficult we are to work with, to parent, to understand. And we’re talking about an invisible disability! A little secret – we are everywhere. We are hiding in plain sight. We lurk around in your life and most have no idea. I do not have a physical disability and don’t even dare to speak on their behalf. But, a physical disability is seen as problematic in and of itself. Assumptions are made about the capacity to make decisions around their own safety and capabilities. I know this from conversations with friends.

Whatever our disability, we spend a fair chunk of our lives in the purple sector. This consumes our energy in so many ways. I have a friend who is a wheelchair user. She has been fighting the state education system for fair access to her child’s classroom. This fight has consumed her. She has felt mentally unsafe. She feels gaslighted and this experience is damaging for her, her family, her friends and ultimately her community. This same friend is an active advocate. She is a wonderful friend and a talented jazz performer. Guess what she spends the least amount of time doing? Performing!

I wanted to talk about my friend before I talked about me. I also have permission from her to write about her. As an autistic person, I find the challenges I need to overcome are mostly hidden from people. It still consumes so much of my physical and mental stamina. My executive disfunction means I have a wealth of information at my fingertips which is unfiled, disorganised and overwhelming. I like to stick to statistics when advocating. Again, you cannot argue with the Australian Bureau of Statistics. However, I at times can’t even find the statistics I need by googling.

For the past fifteen years, I have devoted much of my time to maintaining a good relationship with the school my autistic son attended. This involved, overlooking stuff that at times you are upset by. You pick your battles, because you are labeled a pesky parent for asking for reasonable adjustments. And guess what? The state education system actually has an Inclusive Education Policy that eludes to promises of these reasonable adjustments. They don’t automatically happen. Here’s how I got the ball rolling at my son’s school. May 2018 the Inclusive Education Policy is launched. I read it with much delight. I emailed the school Principal hoping to meet to discuss the three points raised. One being ha ha ha collaboration with parents. His reply was a simple no. His boss, the Education Minister signed off on this. But he has so much autonomy, he can decide to not endorse this policy.

My next step was to contact another arm of the education department. The outcome was a meeting with the school with an autism coach, an inclusion coach and some kind of regional Guidance Officer also. I kid you not. We met a few times. We had minutes of meetings. Yet really, nothing changed. I expended a shit ton load of emotional energy. These are such common events for people with a disability. Not necessarily this exact scenario but they all look the same. We politely ask for reasonable adjustments. We refer to government endorsed policy and sometimes even law and there is still no change.

We sit in that purple sector for the length and breadth of our lives and feel trampled. We are bulldozed and some give up. I can’t give up. I think it is because I am so consumed with fury. My black and white thinking tells me something is either right or it’s wrong. I am also a persistent person. I keep knocking on doors. Usually they either don’t open or are slammed in my face. It takes a toll on me, but I rally and keep on knocking. I will find that door.

I don’t think it is too much to ask that we can move from a deficiency status to a growth status. When we tell our government representatives we want to work. We want to start our own business or social enterprise, we should be taken seriously. It boils down to dropping a pebble in a pond. Being listened to will create such a massive ripple effect. Listen to us. Support us. Don’t tell us, show us. Empower us. Help us to help ourselves. We are so tired of begging. I keep thinking of the lyrics from the song Uprising by Muse.

The paranoia is in bloom, the PR

Transmissions will resume

They’ll try to push drugs

That keep us dumbed down and hope that

We will never see the truth around

Another promise, another scene,

Another package lie to keep us trapped in greed

With all the green belts wrapped around our minds

And endless red tape to keep the truth confined

They will not force us

They will stop degrading us

They will not control us

We will be victorious

Interchanging mind control

Come let the revolution take its toll if you could

Flick a switch and open your third eye, you’d see that

We should never be afraid to die

Rise up and take the power back, it’s time that

The fat cats had a heart attack, you know that

Their time is coming to an end

We have to unify and watch our flag ascend

They will not force us

They will stop degrading us

They will not control us

We will be victorious

There is so much talk about diversity and inclusion. SO MUCH TALK. But there is no action. Yes we have seen tokenism. It is lauded in the headlines almost on the same level as Jesus turning water into wine. It is nothing but clickbait. We still live a life of deficit. We do not rarely pass from the bottom level of the hierarchy. And until we can stop expending our energy on the fundamentals of life this will not change.

© Laura Lewis Autism Mentoring 2020

I like to use Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs when I advocate. It’s pretty hard to argue against. It’s convincing. Today I am going to wade a vicarious path through the garden of ‘Deficits’ for people with a disability. How we spend a fair whack of our time in the purple sector of this hierarchy working on overcoming deficits. Not a word I really like but it’s used in the article I have referred to.

There is so much written about autistic lives. How challenging we are. How difficult we are to work with, to parent, to understand. And we’re talking about an invisible disability! A little secret – we are everywhere. We are hiding in plain sight. We lurk around in your life and most have no idea. I do not have a physical disability and don’t even dare to speak on their behalf. But, a physical disability is seen as problematic in and of itself. Assumptions are made about the capacity to make decisions around their own safety and capabilities. I know this from conversations with friends. 

Whatever our disability, we spend a fair chunk of our lives in the purple sector. This consumes our energy in so many ways. I have a friend who is a wheelchair user. She has been fighting the state education system for fair access to her child’s classroom. This fight has consumed her. She has felt mentally unsafe. She feels gaslighted and this experience is damaging for her, her family, her friends and ultimately her community. This same friend is an active advocate. She is a wonderful friend and a talented jazz performer. Guess what she spends the least amount of time doing? Performing! 

I wanted to talk about my friend before I talked about me. I also have permission from her to write about her. As an autistic person, I find the challenges I need to overcome are mostly hidden from people. It still consumes so much of my physical and mental stamina. My executive disfunction means I have a wealth of information at my fingertips which is unfiled, disorganised and overwhelming. I like to stick to statistics when advocating. Again, you cannot argue with the Australian Bureau of Statistics. However, I at times can’t even find the statistics I need by googling. 

For the past fifteen years, I have devoted much of my time to maintaining a good relationship with the school my autistic son attended. This involved, overlooking stuff that at times you are upset by. You pick your battles, because you are labeled a pesky parent for asking for reasonable adjustments. And guess what? The state education system actually has an Inclusive Education Policy that eludes to promises of these reasonable adjustments. They don’t automatically happen. Here’s how I got the ball rolling at my son’s school. May 2018 the Inclusive Education Policy is launched. I read it with much delight. I emailed the school Principal hoping to meet to discuss the three points raised. One being ha ha ha collaboration with parents. His reply was a simple no. His boss, the Education Minister signed off on this. But he has so much autonomy, he can decide to not endorse this policy.

My next step was to contact another arm of the education department. The outcome was a meeting with the school with an autism coach, an inclusion coach and some kind of regional Guidance Officer also. I kid you not. We met a few times. We had minutes of meetings. Yet really, nothing changed. I expended a shit ton load of emotional energy. These are such common events for people with a disability. Not necessarily this exact scenario but they all look the same. We politely ask for reasonable adjustments. We refer to government endorsed policy and sometimes even law and there is still no change.

We sit in that purple sector for the length and breadth of our lives and feel trampled. We are bulldozed and some give up. I can’t give up. I think it is because I am so consumed with fury. My black and white thinking tells me something is either right or it’s wrong. I am also a persistent person. I keep knocking on doors. Usually they either don’t open or are slammed in my face. It takes a toll on me, but I rally and keep on knocking. I will find that door. 

I don’t think it is too much to ask that we can move from a deficiency status to a growth status. When we tell our government representatives we want to work. We want to start our own business or social enterprise, we should be taken seriously. It boils down to dropping a pebble in a pond. Being listened to will create such a massive ripple effect. Listen to us. Support us. Don’t tell us, show us. Empower us. Help us to help ourselves. We are so tired of begging. I keep thinking of the lyrics from the song Uprising by Muse.

The paranoia is in bloom, the PR

Transmissions will resume

They’ll try to push drugs

That keep us dumbed down and hope that 

We will never see the truth around

Another promise, another scene,

Another package lie to keep us trapped in greed

With all the green belts wrapped around our minds

And endless red tape to keep the truth confined

They will not force us

They will stop degrading us

They will not control us

We will be victorious

Interchanging mind control

Come let the revolution take its toll if you could

Flick a switch and open your third eye, you’d see that 

We should never be afraid to die

Rise up and take the power back, it’s time that 

The fat cats had a heart attack, you know that

Their time is coming to an end

We have to unify and watch our flag ascend

They will not force us

They will stop degrading us

They will not control us

We will be victorious 

There is so much talk about diversity and inclusion. SO MUCH TALK. But there is no action. Yes we have seen tokenism. It is lauded in the headlines almost on the same level as Jesus turning water into wine. It is nothing but clickbait. We still live a life of deficit. We do not rarely pass from the bottom level of the hierarchy. And until we can stop expending our energy on the fundamentals of life this will not change.

© Laura Lewis Autism Mentoring 2020

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