Autoethnographies of Educators Learning and Teaching With/In [Dis]ability
Edited By Philip Smith
Chapter 9: Picture This: Snapshots of My (A)typical Family, by David Connor
When asked to identify a person with a disability who has influenced my understanding of disability, I am hard pressed to pin this on one individual. Instead, I think of many family members, a cast of characters who have managed their “differences” over time, integrating them into their own daily life and the lives of others in our family. In this chapter I share my own perceptions of this ensemble cast and I posit that readers will likely have a similar experience when reflecting upon their own extended families.
In the modern classic documentary Including Samuel (Habib, 2008), Douglas Biklen, Dean of the School of Education at Syracuse University, ponders the question “Is there any place within this society where inclusion exists ‘full blown’?” He concludes, “The answer is yes. It exists within a lot of families.” His response is plain and simple, so much so that we forget how much families include their children with disabilities by necessity, and in doing so, become creative, flexible, accommodating people in general, while learning about particular bodily and psychological differences. In brief, disabilities or differences are usually normalized within families. It therefore follows, though it is not usually recognized, that families who have members with a disability can serve as examples to our larger society—illuminating ways in which everyone can be included. In particular, the education system has much to learn from how families view children with disabilities and integrate them into all aspects of daily...
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