Thursday, September 27, 2007

What the world needs more Jonathan Mooneys

"What the world needs now" is the opening line of a famous song that tells us that we need “love, sweet love.”

Sweet love is great, but a little abstract. I think we need more Jonathan Mooneys. Yesterday I listened to “Beyond Normal,” an interview with Jonathan Mooney, who is not abstract, on KPFA’s Against the Grain. Mooney, a self-described dyslexic activist, traveling thousands of miles across the US, visiting people diagnosed with various disabilities. He wrote about his experience and insights in The Short Bus - A Journey Beyond Normal.

Most touching to me were Mooney’s comments about Ashley, a deaf and blind eight year old. When he first met her, his thought was that “she’s not like me. She’s not normal.” His reactions to her and others like her with other disabilities prompted Mooney to ask himself what the societal notion of “normal” really meant. He has concluded that “normal” unnecessarily excludes so many people, including those who are diagnosed with autism, Asperger’s, ADD and ADHD, as well as physical limitations like deafness and blindness. Exclusion creates barriers not only in attempting to understand people with various disabilities but also how they are treated by society.

You can listen to the interview here. At Mooney’s website, you can read an excerpt, read reviews, or purchase The Short Bus, watch a video clip featuring Mooney, or check his tour schedule.

(book cover of The Short Bus, from Mooney’s website)

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