- “But she’s not retarded”: Contemporary Adolescent Literature Humanizes Disability but Marginalizes Intellectual Disability
- Children's Literature Association Quarterly
- Johns Hopkins University Press
- Volume 38, Number 3, Fall 2013
- pp. 267-283
- View Citation
- Additional Information
This article examines trends within contemporary young adult novels that seek to address social understandings of disability. While these texts position disability as an identity category, celebrate inclusivity, and argue for accommodation, they refuse empowerment for people with intellectual disabilities. Three primary modes of addressing intellectual disability emerge from the novels: physically disabled narrator-protagonists find acceptance from peers by asserting that they are smart and “not retarded”; physically disabled narrator-protagonists separate themselves from intellectually disabled peers; and so-called intellectually disabled narrator-protagonists attempt to find voices, but ultimately reveal and privilege intelligence, which others and eliminates intellectual disability.