The notion that some parents may be ‘in denial’ is a pervasive theme in dominant discourses on families of children with disabilities. In this analytic essay, I deconstruct cultural and institutional master narratives on parental denial and discuss their role in the marginalization of students with disabilities in schools. I argue that discourses on parental denial privilege the perspectives of those in positions of power and control, leave the practice of ability-based segregation in schools unexamined, and discredit agency among families. Additionally, drawing from existing narrative-based research, I explore alternative interpretations of parents’ responses to their children’s differences, situating these in the framework of critical disability studies.
- critical disability studies
- families of children with disabilities
- inclusive education
- master narratives
- parents’ perspectives
- professional–family partnerships