I’ll Hold Your Cane If You’ll Hold My AT-AT

An older fan couple cosplay Han Solo and Princess Leia at the 2015 Emerald City Comic Con:

Photo by Fanpup101 on Twitter. The walker with an AT-AT sign is the best!

Because also fictional characters get old, and because when we non-fictional characters getting old, it doesn’t mean we lose our sense of humor!


Designing Tech at 90

At 90, Barbara Beskind, after a career in the military and years of design work from toys to inflatable devices that help children with balance issues, is still going strong – and designing away. Ms. Beskind is currently working on solutions that improve the quality of life for older adults.

Barbara Beskind. Photo: Nicolas Zurcher, courtesy of IDEO; found via NPR.

Photo: Nicolas Zurcher, courtesy of IDEO; found via NPR.

For Ms. Beskind, being a designer is a boon because “[i]t makes aging more tolerable, more enjoyable… I enjoy the age I’m in. I think it’s one of the best chapters of my life,” says she in an NPR interview by Laura Sydell.



Ramping It Up

Beautiful and functional accessibility from Belgium:

Found via Proferssor Robert Harris on Twitter.

Because access matters, and providing access in an aesthetically pleasing way is a very nice bonus.

Wheelchairs and Amputees in Pop Culture: Disney Princess Version

Italian artist Alexsandro Palombo created a series of Disney princesses in wheelchairs or with missing limbs to speak out about the lack of amputees and disabled characters in pop culture.

Cinderella in Wheelchair by Alexsandro Palombo

Alexsandro Palombo, via NYDailyNews.com

Carol Glazer, president of the National Organization on Disability, says in the NY Daily News article:

“So when you portray popular iconic figures, like Disney princesses, without any of them having disabilities, you’re cutting out 20% of the population.”

According to Glazer, including characters with disabilities is vital because

“[a]ll you’re saying is that there’s a broad range of people in this world. And that’s an important message.”
(Read more on NY Daily News.)
Because the broad range of people in this world of ours is the most important message.

Intense World Theory and Autism

Wondrously intriguing look at autism through neuroscience in an article by Maia Szalavitz in Matter. According to researchers Henry and Kamila Markram, who developed the so-called intense world theory:

“The behavior that results is not due to cognitive deficits—the prevailing view in autism research circles today—but the opposite, they say. Rather than being oblivious, autistic people take in too much and learn too fast. While they may appear bereft of emotion, the Markrams insist they are actually overwhelmed not only by their own emotions, but by the emotions of others.

“Consequently, the brain architecture of autism is not just defined by its weaknesses, but also by its inherent strengths. The developmental disorder now believed to affect around 1 percent of the population is not characterized by lack of empathy, the Markrams claim. Social difficulties and odd behavior result from trying to cope with a world that’s just too much.”

The Markrams also theorize potential solutions, starting at a very young age:

“If autistic babies tune out when overwhelmed, their social and language difficulties may arise not from damaged brain regions, but because critical data is drowned out by noise or missed due to attempts to escape at a time when the brain actually needs this input.

“The intense world could also account for the tragic similarities between autistic children and abused and neglected infants. Severely maltreated children often rock, avoid eye contact, and have social problems—just like autistic children. These parallels led to decades of blaming the parents of autistic children, including the infamous ‘refrigerator mother.’ But if those behaviors are coping mechanisms, autistic people might engage in them not because of maltreatment, but because ordinary experience is overwhelming or even traumatic.

“The Markrams teased out further implications: Social problems may not be a defining or even fixed feature of autism. Early intervention to reduce or moderate the intensity of an autistic child’s environment might allow their talents to be protected while their autism-related disabilities are mitigated or, possibly, avoided.”

The human brain is so fascinating!

The Internet to 4-Year-Old: Glasses Are Cool

Noah, a four-year-old who needed glasses, didn’t want to wear them. His mother took to the Internet for help with resounding success. In her own words:

“Our sweet 4-year old, Noah, just got glasses and is having a hard time adjusting. The saddest part is that he doesn’t want to wear them because, as he keeps telling us that “everyone will laugh at him”. Soooo… Let’s show Noah how awesome glasses really are by posting some pictures for him to see you in your glasses! Thank you for all the support – Noah sees each and every one of these pictures. Love to you all!!”
Glasses for Noah

From Glasses for Noah Facebook group.