A partnership between Hypermobile crip creators, Laura Tuthall (she, they) and Audre Wirtanen (she, her), Hyp-ACCESS is a Disability Justice project that reimagines models of care across body-related fields in direct response to the unique need in each for hypermobility-specific access. Widespread hypermobility is a diverse, multi-systemic condition that is omnipresent in society but neglected by medicine and exploited in the performing arts. Hypermobile people with varying disabled and non-disabled identities are everywhere, but without tailored accessibility and care resources. The work that we do is harm reduction; we repurpose artistic, somatic, and scientific knowledge to serve Hyp+ autonomy and quality of life.

Our Hyp+ community work traverses medical research, medical care access coordination and disability advocacy, risk-minimizing proprioceptive therapy, and accessible movement programming. We center disabled community members and families, and work with practitioners, clinicians, and institutions in service of care justice.

Audre and Laura met in a somatic training that wasn’t accessible, and developed a new somatic therapy, Awareness- Based Neuromuscular Re-patterning (ABNR), behind the scenes by combining sensorimotor theory with Disability Justice values and practice. They teach at Gibney Dance, @freeskewl, and through their own platform. Hyp-ACCESS is a 2020 Moving Toward Justice cohort member at Gibney. They run IRB approved research, collaborate with fellow scientists at WUStL and Keene State, and train PTs and other body-based practitioners to make their physical practices more accessible. They have shared their work at CalArts, IADMS, ISMETA, New York Institute of Technology (NYIT), the American Society of Alexander Technique (AmSAT), New Yorkers for Culture and Arts (NY4CA), the Ehlers-Danlos Society, the University of Washington, MOVEMENTIS, Washington University St. Louis (WUStL), Berklee College of Music, and Bennington College. It’s been a wild ride.


The Hyp+ Community Medical Center: a new model of healthcare in New York City. A Disability Justice focused patient-run healthcare clinic specifically for people with Hypermobile conditions and disabilities. Hypermobile conditions are the most neglected and fetishized in the history of modern medicine, and affect up to ~20% of the global population. In NYC, there is one diagnosing physician and no primary cares available for those diagnosed. No standards of care exist that understand Hypermobile conditions enough to minimize risk of injury and focus on quality of life. This clinic prioritizes the most impacted to create health practices that are accessible for everyone and serve those on Medicaid or those who are uninsured equitably. Case management is guided by patient’s lived-expertise, and on-site primary cares and specialists actively work together on case-management. All patient data is used to track treatment impact to determine a communal standard of care that is responsive and inclusive – creating a new framework for community-centered healthcare that directly serves the population. This way, the 17-year average incorporation of scientific data into medical practice does not delay access to treatment, and human data normally used for capital gain becomes depoliticized. Our clinic includes a movement workshop studio, alternative treatment rooms for holistic health, and a kids’ activity room for family support. Clinic profit spending is democratically decided, with a percentage split amongst patient and staff healthcare costs. Disabled staff run the clinic. By the people, for the people.

Photo credit: Liam Cotter

related articles