Lesson #12: Disabled people have amazing abilities.

I’ve recently been encouraged to get this blog going again, so here it is. I was reading my new favorite blog, Space Crip, and it got me thinking about how great it is to be disabled in sci-fi.  In most cases, it comes with awesome power and few disadvantages.  Touch has solidified the fact that autistic people are clearly superheroes. Now, Kiefer Sutherland is the father of the autistic child in question on Touch. We all know Kiefer Sutherland is a superhero, so maybe it just rubbed off on his child. The kid understands the entire universe, but his kryptonite is human communication. Even someone who is higher functioning on the autistic spectrum, like Sheldon from Big Bang Theory,  is the brightest mind physics has to offer. However, Sheldon doesn’t really understand the entire universe. Higher functioning means he’s not quite as smart as Kiefer Sutherland’s kid.

Rygel from Farscape on Thronesled

Even wheelchairs come with benefits, like Professor X’s ability to read minds. People can make any disability into a superpower, even being bitten by a radioactive spider. Did Peter Parker wither away with self-doubt after he learned he could spin webs? Did he undergo spider chemo? Of course not!  He was never a monster, but a superhero.  Man, don’t disabilities look like fun . . .

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3 responses to “Lesson #12: Disabled people have amazing abilities.

  1. Rygel is a perfect example of the social model of disability. On his own world he was total mobile, a model example of his species evolution to that planet. However, taken away from that environment and he required artificial means to transport himself and the other member’s of the crew often treated him as a burden (altho, that may have had something to do with his attitude…altho, a lot of his attitude stems from the fact that he feels he has to remind people of how useful/excellent he is on his own planet compared to how useless/rubbish he seems out of his natural environment).

    Did I just come across as super geeky? I feel I did…I don’t care.

  2. shanaheinricy

    Thanks for the comment! I should have talked about how Rygel is out of his element . . .

  3. Thanks for the h/t. Really funny post. It seems like all the sci-fi writers sat down together to figure out to handle disability in a more positive, less offensive light. “We could build imaginative, new futures and worlds where disability is accepted as a natural part of life and people with disabilities are integrated into society… OR WE COULD GIVE ALL THE DISABLE PEOPLE SUPERPOWERS!!!” I love your point about Spiderman and superheroes. In that light, most superheroes are actually supercrips!

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