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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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PRINTED FROM NYU Press SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.nyu.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of NYU Press Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NYSO for personal use.date: 20 January 2022

Saints, Sages, and Victims

Saints, Sages, and Victims

Down Syndrome and Parental Narrative

Chapter:
(p.79) 4 Saints, Sages, and Victims
Source:
Unexpected
Author(s):

Alison Piepmeier

George Estreich

Rachel Adams

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9781479816637.003.0004

This chapter examines a complicated genre: the memoir written by a parent of a child with a disability. Despite the formulaic presentation of these narratives as a triumph over adversity, Alison Piepmeier describes many of them as sites of dehumanization. Parental memoirs often overly focus on grief or a medicalized picture of disability. They can reinforce familiar, deeply troubling attitudes about people with disabilities as tragic, burdensome, and unworthy. At the same time, Alison shows that parental memoirs can serve an activist function, acting as sites of resistance, challenging misinformation, and reworking prevailing perceptions of disability.

Keywords:   disability, parental memoirs, dehumanization, medicalized picture of disability, negative cultural attitudes, prevailing perceptions, resistance

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