My Issue with the Cognitive Function Nonsense

Let’s take a moment to talk about That Guy From That Thing going on about how he “aced” the Montreal Cognitive Assessment. He behaves as if he’d received an invitation to join Mensa. He wants to imply that it validates his competence to do his current job. Neither of which are reflected by that test. My issue with the cognitive function nonsense has nothing to do with him. It’s the way that it implies that people that do have impairments are somehow less-than.

I have also recently scored well on that same test… and I have a cognitive function disorder. My issues come and go, based on stress, sleep, and other factors. How I score could have varied if I’d taken it during a different part of the day. Passing the test doesn’t mean I’m free and clear. The ability to name animals and repeat words in order doesn’t qualify me to, say, be the guardian of a massive nuclear arsenal.

But having an impairment doesn’t mean I’m wholly incapable, either. It means I need help with specific things. There’s a reason I have a set schedule. My desk is surrounded by white boards and calendars because they compensate for sporadic memory problems. I take my bullet journal with me everywhere I go because it not only allows me to write things down so I don’t forget, but the act of writing things down helps me to remember.

Imagine what I could do if I were surrounded by competent advisors, certified experts, and virtually unlimited resources. Cognitive issues wouldn’t be the thing keeping me from doing my job exceedingly well. I’m fairly sure it’s not his problem, either.

Harriet Tubman, Disabled Badass

One of my favorite humans, Jessica Kellgren-Fozard, posted a video the other day detailing an often-overlooked fact about Harriet Tubman. She was conductor on the underground railroad, served as a nurse and a spy during the American Civil War, and did all sorts of amazing and badass things. What we’re never told is that she did them in spite of a traumatic brain injury and a pretty wicked seizure disorder. Talk about cognitive function problems! No one credible is going to assert that Tubman was anything other than intelligent and competent.

My Issue with the Cognitive Function Nonsense

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About Berin Kinsman

Berin Kinsman is a writer, game designer, and owner/publisher at Dancing Lights Press. An American by accident of birth, he currently lives in Finland with his wife, artist Katie Kinsman.

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