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Is there such a thing as normal?

Discussion in 'Health and Aging' started by DaisyJane, May 12, 2017.

  1. DaisyJane

    DaisyJane Longtime WC member. Mostly lurking these days.

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    I am in the midst of drafting an undergraduate course exploring disability and faith. Often disability is explored within the context of something that is not normal. For example we assume it is normal to be able to walk and talk, and not being to do those things is considered not normal, and therefore a limitation or disability.

    I would argue that "normal" is a social construct.

    What do you think? What is normal? Is there such a thing as normal?
     
  2. Carolla

    Carolla wondering & wandering

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    Agree with you that "normal" is a social construct. Possibly what we refer to in such contexts is "usual" behaviours/abilities/expectations? Those who do not fall into society's usual patterns get labelled so society can explain them somehow (not necessarily 'correctly' or accurately) - sometimes with the 'disability' moniker.
     
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  3. DaisyJane

    DaisyJane Longtime WC member. Mostly lurking these days.

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    I guess the other part of this question is - how is our preference to latch on to normal problematic? What do we do as a society DO to not fall sway to the "cult of normal" as my advisor would suggest.
     
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  4. revjohn

    revjohn Well-Known Member

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    I should hook you up with my wife. She is arguably the most brilliant woman I know. I think she has a secret education addiction as she has enrolled in degree number 8.

    Anyhow, she has these kinds of discussions all the time in her Special Education courses.

    Well, being privy to much scholarly discussion in this area.

    I think,

    Yes, there is a normal, I define it and everybody else is definitely not normal.

    And everyone of you can say the same.

    Normal is relative. It is not constant nor is it a universal.
     
  5. Carolla

    Carolla wondering & wandering

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    I think it's problematic, in that it may narrow our points of view and may (?) cause us to be dismissive of others who are not like us. Perhaps that is a primitive tribally oriented mode of thinking that somehow connected to survival? Don't really know, just some Friday night thoughts :)

    In my own experience, my mom was influential in shaping my views of 'normal' and 'disabled'. She had friend with kids who had various differences - CP, Downs Syndrome etc. - so we all hung out together & were all included. She volunteered at a centre for kids with disabilities - would talk at home about the kids she met & their personal qualities and abilities she saw in them. In fact it she who promoted OT to me as a profession, and I am grateful for that.

    I think kids, not yet fully acculturated, are quite open to others with differences. They're curious - they ask about stuff from a very genuine and authentic point of interest. They're accepting. But adults 'hush' them - which is not a good thing IMO. Providing opportunities for integrated interactions of people with all kinds of abilities when kids are young can be so helpful I think, which is what prompted me many years ago to push my City planners on the issue of playgrounds for kids of ALL abilities - not a little swing off in the corner where the "handicapped" kids could play, but not access anything else - which had been their prior standard. That was an interesting & transformative project.
     
  6. DaisyJane

    DaisyJane Longtime WC member. Mostly lurking these days.

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    Degree #8. WOW. And I thought I was a perpetual student!!!

    If you are comfortable answering, what is her current work exploring.

    And to ask your question about the course. It is a course being drafted for Waterloo Lutheran Seminary at WLU. The hope is that it will be offered in the winter of 2018.
     
  7. DaisyJane

    DaisyJane Longtime WC member. Mostly lurking these days.

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    Rev John. It is interesting that you bring up the school system (special ed), because that is where we had some of our biggest challenges around the issue of what is normal and what is not.
     
  8. revjohn

    revjohn Well-Known Member

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    I'm thinking of limiting wardrobe addidions to degrees completed. It will not be a popular suggestion.

    I'm not. But only because she is doing so much. Here is a link that will give you a sense of her publications to date.
    https://scholar.google.ca/citations?user=OOYz7LAAAAAJ&hl=en

    Cool. I have two contacts at Huron College (Anglican) of Western University if Waterloo Lutheran Seminary isn't interested I could hook you up with one of them. Has a bushy tail used to answer to EZed.
     
  9. revjohn

    revjohn Well-Known Member

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    Kimberly is no longer faculty at Brock she is now faculty at MUNL
     
  10. Mendalla

    Mendalla Crazy, spiritually mixed up gorilla general

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    Hold it. Our favorite squirrel is at Huron? How did I miss that? I know some Huron profs through my UU circles (in poli sci, though).
     
  11. Kimmio

    Kimmio This is my custom title

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    I've been saying that disability is a social construct for years - during many of them I resented the labelling. It's not a thing I embrace but I tolerate the label and identifying myself with it out of necessity at times. Maybe one day it won't be necessary. And that it isn't seen as a social construct yet is probably due to the "cult of normal".

    It sounds like an interesting course.
     
  12. revjohn

    revjohn Well-Known Member

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    http://www.huronuc.on.ca/Academics/theology

    There are two UCCAN clergy in the faculty.

    Jeff and I are colleagues ordained out of the same congregation. My favourite memory with Jeff was bumping into him (figuratively) in the men's washroom at GC40 in Kelowna. While we are having a bit of a chat and sharing sentiments about the business so far his cell rings. It is his mother. She is watching the live stream and wondered why he was gone from the table so long.

    President of Hamilton Conference, Commissioner to General Council and his mom is checking up on him. I'm very sure she heard me laughing my head off as he explained that he was in the men's room with me. I still laugh about it when I see him.

    Brad is one of my favourite people in the whole world. There is probably nothing I would not do for him if he asked. And he tends to. Which has put me in some very interesting places. I have know that he was EZed since the third day that WonderCafe.ca opened. Of all the things I miss about Ontario, which is a surprisingly short list, he is very near the top. Him and his brother Pat who is an old camp friend of mine.
     
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  13. Pinga

    Pinga Room for All

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    @Carolla I think that kids will accept some things without challenge. I have watched children play automatically with a child in a wheelchair, or electric wheelchair, engaging in play.

    Yet, if a child has a cognitive (?) or behavioural (?) disability, then, I have seen children have no tolerance. "they are annoying". "they spoil the game".

    I remember my sister being rude. She was probably 5 and refused to play with the little girl across the street who was about 7. I was about 13 and babysat the family. The child had severe mental challenges which were tough for an adult, let alone a child to be around. My mom was adamant that my little sister would play with that child. It was the adult intervening.

    Now, my sister would have played with a child with phsycial challenges -- can't catch the ball, can't speak, can't see -- without an issue.

    I have witnessed the same at camps, and programs. The child who has behavioural issues is more likely to be excluded by the other children.

    So, the image of the kids that graciously accept all others to play or are curious...just doesn't fit what I have experienced.
     
  14. Tabitha

    Tabitha journeying

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    Normal is a setting on the dryer.
     
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  15. Carolla

    Carolla wondering & wandering

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    that's a good point pinga - re visible difference or behavioural difference - hadn't thought about that.
     
  16. Pinga

    Pinga Room for All

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    As a note, the same thing happens in retirement homes. People have lots of patience for the physically weak or challenged or vision impaired. Those with behavioural issues...not so much.
     
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  17. Pinga

    Pinga Room for All

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    Sorry, is there such a thing as normal -- only as it relates to oneself.
    I may recognize when my behaviour or physical self is not normal to my steady state.
    I may be transgressing to a new normal. (was dealing with that with a relative today and their new normal)
    I may also not recognize when I am in that state due to my phsycial state (picture someone entering hypothermia, or hyperglycemic) or my mental state (acute depression or brain injury). In those cases, I would need someone who knew me and loved me to name the condition.

    Yet, was I normal to the average population -- not relevant.
    It is only relevant to how my state impacts my ability to function in society, and what supports I might require to make being in society ok.
     
  18. Pinga

    Pinga Room for All

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    ps. we deal the same with large scale computer systems. I would have folks say "that server is running hot". I would say, that is that system's normal. It will always consume what every you can give it to get any task done fast. That is normal for it. It will then drop down. It will also pull work ahead to stay busy. That is normal for it. It doesn't mean it is sized wrong. It is its normal.
     
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  19. Luce NDs

    Luce NDs Well-Known Member

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    Could you reword social construct as a moral majority thing that a rare few would discourage as it might impinge on their desires regarding polity?
     
  20. Luce NDs

    Luce NDs Well-Known Member

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    A floating point decimation? Decimation; an old mot that had something to do with rendering down by 10%! Mot? That's just another word ... like metaphor ...
     

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