High Support Needs? An Interview with Cal Montgomery

In 2005, Cal Montgomery burst into the disability movement as an intellectual who both made sense and was fun to read.  His three-part series on medicalization in the disability magazine, Ragged Edge, took book reviews to a entirely new level. 

Now, after years of writing, entertaining and educating us, Cal Montgomery comes to Pushing Limits.  He’ll be in conversation with Corbett Joan O’Toole to discuss some of the people whom the movement has most struggled to include. They’ll and ask the question, “What does disability rights look like for those with the highest support needs, anyway?”

Here’s a taste of Cal’s Montgomery’s writing:

“I’ve watched people — mostly people who consider themselves to be supporters of disability rights — react to me as my ability to control my body deteriorated again and I slowly slipped across whatever lines they were using to mark the boundary between “high-functioning” and “low-functioning.” A lot of them can’t handle it.  If they’re very polite they make some kind of excuse, but either way most of them are no longer in my life.” (“Defining Autistic Lives: A review of ‘Autism is a World,'” Cal Montgomery, Ragged Edge.)

“…while services for physically disabled people were to a significant extent organized around actual needs that people wanted met and so transition from large institutional settings to the community could be accompanied by significant gains in self-determination, services for people with I/DD tended to center on containment, control, and cost-effectiveness.”  (“Wolfensberger at the Door,” Cal’s Blog)

Cal Montgomery is a white, educated, trans, queer, autistic, physically disabled activist and survivor of long term institutionalization — and is someone often considered outside the reach of disability rights.  He is active on twitter @Cal__Montgomery

Corbett Joan OToole is a white queer disabled elder in that movement that has excluded Cal and others.

Mollie McLeod produced and hosts the program.

Cal Montgomery’s recent writing is available at Cal’s Blog and on twitter @Cal__Montgomery.
Cal’s older writing is available at Raggededgemagazine.com
Corbett Joan O’Toole’s book, “Fading Scars: My Queer Disability History”, 2nd Edition is available at Amazon

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