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Thursday, March 15, 2012
The Ashley Treatment: AD in the Guardian
AD is an acronym for Ashley's dad. Yes, Ashley's dad is in the news. The Guardian has published not one but two articles about the Ashley Treatment. I suppose they did not get the memo that the Ashley Treatment is now referred to as growth attenuation. Regardless, for all those interested I urge you to read "Ashely Treatment on the Rise Amid Concerns from Disability Rights Groups" and "The Ashley Treatment: Her Life is as Good As We can Possibly Make it" published in the Guardian today.
Over the weekend I will deconstruct these articles, in particular the long email exchange with AD. This post is a tease of sorts. The Guardian will be publishing another story tomorrow with another parent that has her child subjected to the Ashley Treatment. I will however provide one short quote that indicates a great divide between those that see disability as a social malady and those that consider disability to be a medical condition. AD noted the following:
"The Ashley treatment has made her far more likely to be comfortable, healthy, and happy. Given the limitations imposed by her medical condition, her life is as good as we can possibly make it."
I have no doubt Ashley's parents lover their daughter very much. I am delighted they are providing her the very best care. However, I am taken aback by the constant medicalization of her disability. Phrases such as "given the limitations of her medical condition" are unfortunate at best. Ashley has a physical and cognitive disability, a far cry from what I think of when I hear the words medical condition. As near as I can tell, Ashley is medically stable and has been for many years. She takes only one medication. I find AD to be troublesome. I cannot begin to understand why he has rejected each and every argument presented by disability studies scholars and activists. I cannot understand why he appears to think Ashley is singularly unique. There are many parents with children similar to Ashley who would not consider growth attenuation. Why the family has utterly rejected a social model of disability and embraced a medical model is a mystery. Worse yet, AD reports what I have been hearing for the last few years. Growth attenuation has gone underground. It is quietly being performed all over the country and abroad.
That's it for now. My first teaser post. Stay tuned for more.