Everyone can be manipulative!

Love, love, love this post by Kate Conway on Jezebel, which has the awesomest title ever of “People with Down Syndrome Can Be Jerks, Too.” Allow me to assert that this is not limited to Down syndrome, but indeed is the case for a whole range of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD).

I wrote on this once before, noting that my kid with severe I/DD is, among his manifold lovely qualities, a complete pain in the ass when woken too early from his nap.

Conway describes a nurse who thought her high-functioning aunt incapable of lying. Let me tell you something. Forget a high-functioning adult. Even a low-functioning toddler can work it. My kid fake cries all the time. If I’m paying attention to his brother, if he wants to stop a therapy, if he doesn’t want to do his stretches. It works especially well with people unfamiliar with disabilities, like the woman who cuts his hair. My kid can sign “yes” and shake his head “no,” and it turns out that’s pretty much all you need to start lying. My oldest will yell, “He pulled my hair!” while my kid with I/DD is shaking his head.

People with I/DD actually have far more in common with typical folk than most of y’all realize. Which includes being manipulative.

Rose Woodhouse

Elizabeth Picciuto was born and reared on Long Island, and, as was the custom for the time and place, got a PhD in philosophy. She freelances, mainly about disability, but once in a while about yeti. Mother to three children, one of whom is disabled, two of whom have brown eyes, three of whom are reasonable cute, you do not want to get her started talking about gardening.


    • You do realize that the baby birds that most aggressively pretend being hungry get fed the most, don’t you?

  1. My parents used to have a border collie named Sam. Every time I visited them, he jumped on me and licked my faced and yelped how much he missed me. Until one day, I came over when no one else was home, and he ignored me. Didn’t come when I called, acted like I wasn’t there until the folks came home from shopping, when he went into his act again.

    So dogs can be manipulative jerks too.

  2. We have reached the mountain top, Rose.

    [Paparazzi shot of person with Down Syndrome buying toilet paper]
    [Paparazzi shot of person with Down Syndrome paying a parking meter]
    [Paparazzi shot of person with Down Syndrome berating hapless waiter]
    Folks with special needs… THEY’RE JUST LIKE US!

    (Semi-seriously, I’ve actually thought of doing a series of websites entitled “Things _______ People Do”, with a different page for each group of marginalized folks. Then it’d just have pictures of them doing all the “normal” stuff that we tend to assume they don’t do because we’re too busy thinking about how “other” they are. I think this could really take off. And, if nothing else, some ignorant StormFront fuck might stumble upon to the “Things Black People Do” page hoping to find some shit to make a hate poster out of only to find pictures of smiling black people food shopping or mowing the grass or folding laundry. Of course, then I might have to make a page for StormFronters…)

    • Kazzy, I totally thought of you when I wrote this. And I think I mentioned once that I have had MULTIPLE people say to me, “Oh, he wears jeans! Just like a regular person.”

  3. While driving out of state to attend a funeral, stopped for food. My son love’s restaurants! Upon entering, sitting, going to wash hands, putting his napkin on his lap, etc. some elderly ladies stopped by r table when they were leaving and said “He’s the best one of ‘those’ I’ve seen! He has Down Syndrome.

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