Discussion Questions

Prepare for class discussions by answering the discussion questions.

1. Should adults with intellectual disabilities who live in group home facilities be allowed to get married? What about having kids? Parenting can be a challenge for anyone; is it possible for people with intellectual disabilities to manage children of their own? What about teens with intellectual disabilities who are in group home programs--should they be allowed to have sex? If not, how can it be prevented?

2. The deaf and hard of hearing community has a lot of pride and is very strengths-focused. There is considerable controversy within the community about the use of cochlear implants, which enable some people who are deaf or hard of hearing to be able to hear for the first time (or to hear again after hearing loss has set in). Some videos online show people crying after getting a cochlear implant and being able to hear their loved ones speak for the first time. Some in the deaf/hard of hearing community have claimed these videos send the wrong message. Why do you think some feel that way? How does this impact the way you think about deaf/hard of hearing people?

3. There is a concept called the “spread of disability” (or the “global disability myth”) that refers to the fact that people with an observable disability are often treated as if they have multiple disabilities. For instance, people who are blind report that people often speak to them in elevated voices as if they are also hard of hearing or people in wheelchairs say others speak more slowly to them as if they also have an intellectual disability. What impact do you think this has on the self-concept of people with disabilities? What does it say about the way society sees people with disabilities?

4. What is your take on people with disabilities (like South African “Blade Runner” Oscar Pistorius who had both his legs amputated) using assistive technology to compete alongside people without disabilities? (Notice I did not say “able-bodied people”--remember to think about your use of language!) Another example is North Carolina teen runner Kayla Montgomery, whose multiple sclerosis causes her to lose feeling in her legs as her races progress--but she continues to run through concentration. Some of her opponents said she has an unfair advantage because she cannot feel the leg pain associated with distance running and high exertion. What do you think is fair or right?