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Good Kings Bad Kings: Gaining Independence

Marly729's picture

This was my second time reading Good Kings, Bad Kings and it was interesting going through it a second time around. I found that every story hit me even harder than it did the first time I read it. However, a theme that I noticed more this time around was the element of belittling. I found that the relationships between the inpatients and the staff at ILLC made it feel as if an adult-child relationship. At a casual glance without much context, I would believe that the patients were around 13 years old, but the actual age of these individuals are close to my own age, some even older. The tone of voice and treatment by most of the staff belittled the patients to the point where they were considered children. I feel that this demeaning attitude and nature just worsened a bigger issue that was brought up various times: the inability of gaining independence. The patients were put in conditions where they did not know anything about finances, had not taken public transit before, were not always allowed to take an elevator by themselves, and put in a time-out room, among many other factors. This made a conveyor belt progression where if one grew out of ILLC, they did not have any other option than to continue residence with Whitney Palm institutions because they were not taught anything about how to construct their own life in the real world. I found the words "boy," "girl," and even "youth" very bothersome to me and I cringed every time I read those words. And I feel that in society today that holds true. There is an assumption that the neurodiverse population needs to be watched over and taken care of but it occurs to the extent that they are not able to assert their own independence.