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Disabled Children’s Childhood Studies Seminar: Conversations from Australia and the UK

By June 13, 2017 No Comments

This seminar extended the initiative established by Professor Dan Goodley and Dr Angharad Beckett (University of Leeds), together with colleagues from the Universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York entitled ‘The White Rose Studies in Ableism’ research collaboration.

Angharad, Deputy Director of the Centre for Disability Studies at Leeds, began the seminar by introducing ‘Disabled Children’s Childhood Studies’ as an approach. This was followed by Professor Roger Slee, University of South Australia, who presented a paper entitled ‘The Additional Child – An Intractable Problem for Schooling’. Roger unpacked the problematic ways in which special educational discourses frame understandings of disability.

Angharad’s paper – ‘We want to play too!’ Developing a Disability Studies perspective on barriers to play for disabled children’ – illuminated the constraints put upon disabled children including inaccessible environments, attitudinal barriers, inadequate policies and programmes and failure to employ child-friendly, participatory methodologies.

Dan’s paper explored the ways in which theories of affect and disability might be synthesized to explore the emotional lives of disabled young people. Introducing a new ESRC project ‘ Life, Death, Disability and the Human: Living Life to the Fullest’ led by Kirsty Liddiard, Dan discussed the ways in which disabled young people are at risk of internalizing dangerous disabling societal discourses that may impinge on their identities. At the same time, disabled children are capable of resisting disablism and offering new ways of relating with one another. Dan commented:

“The seminar was an opportunity to think again about the importance of community inclusion. And while our seminar focused on disability the centrality of inclusion seemed to be especially important in these difficult political times.”

For more information on the new ESRC project ‘Life, Death, Disability and the Human: Living Life to the Fullest‘.