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Meeting Families Where They Are

Building Equity Through Advocacy with Diverse Schools and Communities

Beth Harry Lydia Ocasio-Stoutenburg Alfredo J. Artiles

192 pages
Teachers College Press

This book presents an in-depth discussion of how human disability and parental advocacy have been constructed in American society, including recommendations for a more authentically inclusive vision of parental advocacy. The authors provide a cultural–historical view of the conflation of racism, classism, and ableism that has left a deeply entrenched stigma—one that positions children with disabilities and children of color as less valuable than others. To redress these inequities, the authors offer a working model of co-constructed advocacy designed to benefit all families. Because advocacy is not a “one size fits all” endeavor, the authors propose meeting families where they are and learning their strengths and needs, while preparing and repositioning families to empower themselves.

Book Features:

  • Takes a cultural–historical view that explores the reasons why individuals with disabilities are so stigmatized.
  • Shows how the intersection of different stigmatized identity markers, such as poverty, race, and language, have been woven into negative interpretations of “difference.”
  • Celebrates the history of parent advocacy in the United States since World War II.
  • Examines how social and racial privilege have dictated which parent voices are heard.
  • Proposes collaborative approaches that can produce more authentic and more representative advocacy.
  • Explores the motivations and purposes that drive parent advocacy.
Author Bio

Beth Harry is a professor of special education and chair of the Department of Teaching and Learning at the University of Miami, and coauthor of Why Are So Many Minority Students in Special Education? Second Edition. Lydia Ocasio-Stoutenburg is a doctoral candidate at the University of Miami.