Riding the Bus with My Sister

Riding the Bus with My Sister


Rachel Simon

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Riding the Bus with My Sister: Author’s Note Summary & Analysis

Rachel Simon explains that, for privacy reasons, she has changed the names of everyone who appears in the book (besides herself and her sister Beth). She also notes that the term “mental retardation” is no longer considered acceptable, and that she no longer uses it today. However, in order to stay faithful to the story’s time and place, Rachel Simon has decided not to edit this term out of her book.
Rachel Simon emphasizes that the disability justice movement looked very different in 1999, the year she chronicles in this book, as compared to today. Her book doesn’t aim to provide an accurate, up-to-date introduction to this movement—rather, it intends to capture a particular time and place in the lives of her, her sister Beth, and Americans with developmental disabilities more generally. In fact, learning about the challenges that people with disabilities faced in the past, when terms like “mental retardation” were still ordinary and accepted, is a helpful step toward understanding how policy and public opinion can transform their lives in the future.
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