America, New York, 85th street: On identifying ourselves

The other day I gave a talk at the Gateway School of New York and I got into an interesting conversation about the word “disabled”.  I am a fan of the word – as opposed to “learning differences” or some such – but the woman I was speaking with raised another point: Learning disabled sounds too global.  Yes, “learning disabled” can sound global.  But sometimes the global answer is what you want and sometimes it isn’t.

I live on 85th street in New York City in America.

If I am (say) in Spain and someone says “Where do you live?” the right answer is America or maybe New York City.

If I am in (say) Los Angeles, the right answer is “New York City”.

But if I am talking with someone at the local coffee shop, the right answer is “85th street”.

Same with learning disabled.  I’m learning disabled. I’m in the autism ballpark.  I have nonverbal LD.  Or I can get more specific.  Which I should do depends on circumstances.