Book by María Cioè-Peña

This book explores the experiences and identities of minoritized Latinx mothers who are raising a child who is labeled as both an emergent bilingual and dis/abled. It showcases relationships between families and schools and reveals the ways in which school-based decisions regarding disability, language and academic placement impact family dynamics.

By: María Cioè-Peña

By: María Cioè-Peña


María Cioè-Peña is Assistant Professor at Montclair State University, USA. Her research interests are deeply rooted in political economy, raciolinguistic perspectives and critical dis/ability awareness within schools and families, and encompass bilingual children with dis/abilities, their families and their ability to access multilingual and inclusive learning spaces within public schools.

Table of Contents


Part 1: The Social Constructions of Motherhood – Poverty, Monolingualism and Disability (by Proxy)

Chapter 1. Introduction: Why Mothers? Why These Mothers?

Chapter 2. ‘They don’t care, they don’t understand, they’re in denial’: Constructions of Mothers as Others

Chapter 3. Other People’s Stories

Chapter 4. Setting the Stage: An Introduction to the Mothers and the Significance of a Place and Time

Chapter 5. At Home with the Testimonialistas


Part 2: Testimonios: Mothers Speak

Chapter 6. Mothering With, Through and Alongside Dis/ability Labels.

Chapter 7. Broken Promise: The Security of Bilingualism for the Future and the Ambiguity of Bilingualism in the Present

Chapter 8. Teacher? Student? Both: Mothers as Language Brokers

Chapter 9. Bending Roles: Resisting Exclusion, Creating Paths for Engagement

Chapter 10. Broken Spirits: Challenges Faced by MoEBLADs

Chapter 11. Motherhood as Purpose


Part 3: Making Room for Mothers

Chapter 12. Repairing Broken Systems: Radical Possibilities

Chapter 13.  Moving Forward Together

Making Personal, Professional and Global Connections: An Afterword  

Recruiting Hiring Retention


“This book offers a window into the lives and experiences of ten amazing immigrant women who have gone to great lengths to support their emerging bilingual children diagnosed with dis/abilities. These are voices our education system often ignores or overlooks, yet their testimonios are so powerful! They offer insights that we can leverage for a more just system for all emerging bilingual students, especially for those who have been diagnosed with a dis/ability.”

Deborah K. Palmer, University of Colorado Boulder, USA

“María Cioè-Peña provides a powerful analysis of Latina mothers advocating for their children at the intersection of language, race and disability that challenges deficit perspectives by pointing to the rich cultural and linguistic traditions that they build on as they navigate oppressive systems designed to marginalize them and their children.”

Nelson Flores, University of Pennsylvania, USA

“Cioè-Peña’s work is situated in both refusal and expansion. She refuses a deficit perspective of mothers rooted in standards and norms of whiteness. The expansion is in her focus on those who have been largely neglected by education research – mothers of emergent bilingual children who were also labeled disabled. Her positioning of these mothers as knowledge generators is an essential contribution to conversations about education, language, disability, and race.”

Subini Annamma, Stanford University, USA

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