English 24

Freshman Seminar: Children, Families and Disability

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2005 Schweik, Susan
Schweik, Susan and O'Toole, Corbett Joan
Tues. 10-11 121 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

Waters, M., ed.: Bigger Than the Sky: Disabled Women on Parenting; course reader


This course will explore how disability, gender and race intersect in the lives of people with disabilities across the early lifespan (from birth to age 18), primarily in the United States. The questions we'll address are fundamental disability issues: What is the value of a disabled life? Do children with disabilities belong in the mainstream world of schools and communities? Who, under what circumstances, should make decisions that concern young adults with disabilities? Through the lens of families we will examine important and cutting-edge topics such as prenatal testing, issues concerning disabled babies and disabled parents, mainstreaming, personal assistance services, and playground politics. Class speakers will include disabled teens, parents of disabled children, parents who chose to have a disabled child (both biological and adoptive parents), educators, and artists. This class is geared to freshmen who want a small, interactive experience of exploring disability from both nondisabled and disabled perspectives while building an academic base in disability studies. Frequent informal short assignments, many of which will take you outside of the classroom into the worlds of children, families and advocates dealing with disability. The class will be co-taught by two instructors. Corbett Joan O'Toole, a longtime, internationally influential disability rights activist, is a writer, a filmmaker and director of the Disabled Women's Alliance, an organization that focuses on networking and advocacy for women with disabilities around the world. Susan Schweik is associate professor of English and co-coordinator of the disability studies minor at Berkeley.

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