Disability Justice: Being dyspraxic in a developing country | Muskaan Arora -India

Hi I'm Muskaan Arora (She/Ze/They), an 18-year-old self-diagnosed dyspraxic and Autistic woman from Ahmedabad, India.

India is a developing country with a collectivistic culture, with a society that considers anything related to brain, nerves and mind - even the profession of a Psychiatrist or Psychologist as (TW: Ableist slur) m*dness. Sure, people are getting modernized, Millennials and Gen Z's are generations worth hoping from; but the overall awareness regarding any disability - even popular ones like autism - is rare, and deeply rooted in stereotypes.

Not to forget the Per Capita Income which was US $6,920 PPP as against the UK's US $47,880 PPP in 2019, pre-pandemic times. Combined with a low infrastructural development and a Fascist democracy, I live in one of the world's most developing countries and one of the biggest economies. I don't ask for your sympathy, I just ask for you to be an ally in increasing representation of the voices less-heard.

I came to know I'm dyspraxic when I watched a pathbreaking Indian film on neurodivergence which mentioned how not being able to catch a ball or tie shoelaces could be a result of a neurological disorder. 2-3 hours a day of google searches for 10 days and I found out I'm dyspraxic. Initially, it was relieving, but after a few days I experienced dysphoria, and I later overcame it all and am very happy with life now. I won't lie, I've been lucky too - been a school topper throughout life (academics was my saviour); intersectionally, I'm an Upper-Caste Cis-Het-Allo woman; and I know I'm neurodivergent at the age of 18 - a good amount of privilege to have. Of course, having a panic disorder, years of unknown masking and ableism, a dysfunctional family and typical Indian patriarchy along with neurodivergence does bring complications in life. (Again just me, everyone has a different life)

Someone "having it worse" doesn't invalidate my struggles, but doesn't invalidate their struggles too. We need to recognize intersectional aspects when we talk about Disability Justice. Apart from gender, sexual orientation, religion, race and class (which I have seen most people considering), we also need to broaden our perspective towards developing countries, collectivistic-orthodox cultures, lower and outcaste people, self-diagnosed people, ACDFs and a lot more. Representation matters, simply because existence matters.

*Purchasing power parity (PPP) is a popular metric used by macroeconomic analysts that compares different countries' currencies through a "basket of goods" approach.