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In Search of Better Angels
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In Search of Better Angels
Stories of Disability in the Human Family



May 2003 | 160 pages | Corwin
`We must first understand others before we can care about them and we must care about them before we can love them. In this book, J David Smith takes us on a fascinating journey from understanding to caring to love'- Leonard O Pellicer, Dean, University of La Verne, La Verne, California

In his book, In Search of Better Angels: Stories of Disability in the Human Family, author J David Smith appeals to the "better angels" of our character in a unique style of writing uncommon in literature for educational practitioners. The book seeks understanding for children with disabilities and the creation of a society that celebrates human diversity through a collection of stories. In Search of Better Angels discusses the challenges and possibilities for an inclusive educational system that accepts and welcomes students with disabilities. The stories presented throughout the book journey through the historical and scientific theories that shaped society's perception of people with disabilities. They include narratives of personal change and realizations, evaluations of trends in teaching and education for students with disabilities, and lessons we can learn as a society from people with disabilities and the qualities they possess

 
Preface
Acknowledgments

 
 
Introduction: Power and Epiphany - Reflections on the Personal and Cultural Value of Disabilities
 
Part I: My Own Journey
 
1. Disability and Revelation: Lessons Learned and Flying Squirrels
 
2. Learning to Love, Loving to Learn: Mike and the Clown Faces
 
3. Inclusion, Exclusion, and Other Matters of the Heart: The Story of Nan
 
4. Disabling Prejudice: Aunt Celie and the Marble Cake
 
5. Lessons in Patois: Learning to Be a Jamaican
 
6. A Father's Proud Moment: The Day My Daughter Became a Gifted Samaritan
 
7. Recapturing the Spirit of Caring: Uncle, Brownie, and Sausage Biscuits
 
Part I: Questions to Ponder
 
Part II: Disability, Science, and Pseudoscience
 
8. Eugenics, Old and New: Mensa and the Human Genome Project
The Tragedy of Involuntary Sterilization Eugenics

 
Eugenics: A Continuing Legacy

 
The Human Genome Project and Mental Retardation

 
Mental Retardation, "Felt Necessities," and Ethics

 
 
9. Euguenics Revisited: Buck Versus Bell and The Bell Curve
 
10. Old Texts, Disabilities, and the Persistent Argument: For Whom the Bell Curves
 
11. Different Voices of Advocacy: Helen Keller and Burton Blatt
Helen Keller: A Magnificent Exception

 
Helen Keller and the Parameters of Advocacy

 
Burton Blatt's Advocacy: The Golden Rule and Beyond

 
Legacies and Challenges

 
 
12. A Place or No Place for Disabilities: Disney's Tarzan, Edgar Rice Burroughs' Eugenics, and Visions of Utopian Perfection
Tarzan and the Triumph of Heredity

 
Burroughs on Genetic Predetermination

 
Burroughs on Breeding for Utopia

 
Utopia and Disabilities

 
 
13. The Polio Vaccine Research and Children With Disabilities: Sacrifices for the Miracle
Personal Reflections on Polio

 
The Salk Vaccine and "Institutionalized" Research

 
Feeding Live Polio Virus to Children With Disabilites

 
Research and Disabilities: Other Cases

 
Claiming a Place of Value for People With Disabilities: The Continuing Struggle

 
 
Part II: Questions to Ponder
 
Part III: Disability in Historical and Literary Perspectives
 
14. Disability and the Need for Romantic Science: Darwin's Last Child
 
15. Words of Understanding, Concepts of Inclusiveness: The Wisdom of Margaret Mead
 
16. The Question of Differential Advocacy: Laura Bridgman
Constructing the Disability of Mental Retardation

 
Disability and Invisibility

 
Laura Bridgman: The First Miracle

 
 
17. Disabilities and the Challenges of Equality: Looking Backward, Looking Forward
Looking Backward

 
Looking Forward

 
 
18. Diversity and Disability: Individuality and Mental Retardation
A Memory From Ignacy Goldberg

 
Jack London's "Told in the Drooling Ward"

 
The Typology of Mental Retardation

 
Mental Retardation: Redefining or Disaggregating?

 
 
Part III: Questions to Ponder
 
Epilogue: Finding a Voice - The Story of Bill
 
Index

"We must first understand others before we can care about them and we must care about them before we can love them. In this book, J. David Smith takes us on a fascinating journey from understanding to caring to love."

 

Long version:

"This is not just a book about special education or people with disabilities, this is a book about humanity and what it means to be human!

J. David Smith carries on in the best tradition of the great Southern storytellers. He will make you laugh, he will make you cry, but most importantly, he will make you think!

There are insights in this wonderful book that, if taken to heart, can make us all "better angels!"

We must first understand others before we can care about them and we must care about them before we can love them. In this book, J. David Smith takes us on a fascinating journey from understanding to caring to love."

Leonard O. Pellicer, Dean
University of La Verne

Sample Materials & Chapters

Preface

Chapter 1: Disability and Revelation


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