Welcome to the Unexceptional Moms Podcast, where we offer hope and encouragement for parents of disabled kids.
Join us in this journey as we navigate the joys and challenges of raising children with disabilities. We want you to know you're not alone.
Let's Talk About Disability Culture and Identity Part One
If you parent kids with disabilities and you are nondisabled, chances are you don’t know much about disability culture. Personally, learning about my children’s culture has been a journey and a process, something I don’t always get right and I am still learning. In this episode of the Unexceptional Moms Podcast, Erin and I talk to Marin Hann — who is disabled — about disability culture and identity. We discuss how parents can build a bridge for their disabled children to learn about their culture, a culture as parents we do not belong to.
Growing up as a disabled child being raised by non-disabled parents meant Marin’s parents were not aware there was such a thing as “disability culture” and neither was Marin until her teen years.
Marin HannBut yeah, my parents didn’t know that there was a disabled culture, or what that meant, either. And it makes sense, because I don’t know how they would have access to that prior. And they didn’t really know anything much about raising a disabled child till I showed up.
Marin explains internalized ableism as well as lateral ableism (the “hierarchy” of disability, and how problematic that is). And Erin and I express that even as parents of disabled kids, we are often ableist.
Although we do not come with an answer, we tackle the topic of separating our children from their disability. We also discuss “the great divide,” or the divide that exists between parents of disabled children and disabled adults.
Related: Bringing Together Parents of Kids With Disabilities and Disabled Adults
We address the history of disability, and how little our culture teaches about it. We discuss how watching the Netflix documentary, Crip Camp, is a good place to start.
Marin: Your child has a disability, you think that there’s not a cultural difference between
the two of you, you think that you’re from the same culture.
Ellen: I did.
Marin: Yeah. I did, too. I thought I was from my parents’ culture as well.
Erin: That’s really profound Marin and I think a lot of parents listening are gonna go, “Wow.”
Marin tells us a little about the Disability Pride Movement, and how important it is for parents to be a “bridge,” connecting our children to their community/culture.
We talk about the role of physical therapy as opposed to occupational therapy. The positives, and the unintentional messages sent when we push disabled kids to become as “non-disabled” as possible. This is especially understandable as parents are pressured by the medical model of disability.
Recommended resources by Marin:
Kim E. Nielsen, A Disability History of the United States (REVISIONING HISTORY) James I. Charlton Nothing About Us Without Us: Disability Oppression and Empowerment.
Defectives in the Land: Disability and Immigration in the Age of Eugenics by Douglas C. Baynton. War Against The Weak by Edwin Black.
The New Disability History: American Perspectives edited by Paul K. Longmore, Lauri Umansky and, Why I Burned My Book and Other Essays on Disability by Paul K. Longmore are best read together.
You can also check out Marin’s Amazon list. While Marin has this list on Amazon for us to view, she wants to encourage us to buy from independent booksellers.
As the mom of an 8yr old with congenital muscular dystrophy I completely appreciate the culture podcast with Maren. This is eye-opening and will undoubtedly help me love my daughter better. Thanks, Ladies!!
This podcast is exceptional. Ellen and Erin are a delight to listen to. The easygoing casual banter is so disarming, and then come the questions. There are some serious topics covered insightfully and with that sense of humor that comes from direct experience. Whether you are diving into childhood disability through adoption or wading in from the other end of the pool, this is the right place.
Great show! I wish this was around when my son was younger, but never too late to learn. Thank you!