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UnexpectedParenting, Prenatal Testing, and Down Syndrome$
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Alison Piepmeier

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9781479816637

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479816637.001.0001

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The Welcome Table

The Welcome Table

(p.67) 3 The Welcome Table

Alison Piepmeier

George Estreich

Rachel Adams

NYU Press

In this chapter, Alison Piepmeier describes how eating at a table can figuratively and literally show the barriers people with disability face in trying to connect with a larger community. She interviews adults with Down syndrome and parents of children with Down syndrome to learn how some people are included in, or excluded from, social gatherings like family meals, children’s parties, school activities, and organizational meetings. Alison recalls disability rights activist Harriet McBryde Johnson’s fight for accommodation and Johnson’s interaction with a professor whose views on euthanasia are criticized as being ableist. Being invited to sit at a table—be it a dinner party among friends or an organization’s luncheon—means accepting a person’s value as fully human. Alison points out that even some well-intentioned groups forget the importance of inclusion. She quotes disability advocacy leader Nancy Brown’s observation “We segregate those we don’t value.”

Keywords:   adults with Down syndrome, disability advocacy, social gatherings, inclusion, accommodation, Harriet McBryde Johnson, Nancy Brown

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