Speaking in Two Voices: Academics Parenting Children with Disabilities

full name / name of organization: 
Angela Ridinger-Dotterman, Suffolk County Community College
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The growth of Disability Studies over the past two decades appears as an indication that academe is becoming more inclusive of those with disabilities. Scholarship increasingly focuses on the representation of various disabilities within literary texts, and more disability-centered texts are finding their way onto course syllabi. What does this mean for those of us who are both academics and parents of exceptional children? As Michael Bérubé suggests in his memoir _Jamie_, parents of children who cannot (always) represent themselves have an obligation to speak for their children, and this task of speaking for our children carries with it the additional challenge of speaking in the discourses of academia. In effect, we must speak in two voices. While academe's acceptance of physical and cognitive diversity in scholarship is one thing, the realities of the academy may be quite different; for while our discourse professes inclusion, increasing teaching loads, extended time to tenure, shortened time-to-degree requirements, and the "publish or perish" atmosphere of academia are often directly at odds with the realities of taking care of children with disabilities, who require extraordinary energy and time. This panel seeks papers discussing parenting children with disabilities in the academy; both scholarly and autobiographical submissions (and any blending thereof) are welcome. Papers might seek respond to any of the following: How does our experience of parenting a child with a disability shape our scholarship and/or our teaching? How do we value intellectual disability in a field where intelligence is regarded as a virtue? How do we negotiate the competing pressures of being a good parent and a good academic? How do we work to create space for kids like ours in academia? Submit abstracts of no more than 250 words to dotteran@sunysuffolk.edu by September 30, 2013.