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Children's experiences of disability: pointers to a social model of childhood disability

Connors, Clare and Stalker, Kirsten (2010) Children's experiences of disability: pointers to a social model of childhood disability. In: Equality, Participation and Inclusion Diverse Perspectives. Taylor and Francis Ltd. ISBN 9780415584234

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The social model of disability has paid little attention to disabled children, with few attempts to explore how far it provides an adequate explanatory framework for their experiences. This chapter reports findings from a two-year study exploring the lived experiences of 26 disabled children with a range of impairments aged 7-15. They experienced disability in four ways-in terms of impairment, difference, other people's behaviour towards them, and material barriers. Most young people presented themselves as similar to non-disabled children: it is suggested they may have lacked a positive language with which to discuss difference. The chapter concludes by speculating why most of the children focused on 'sameness' rather than difference in their accounts and the implications of the findings for developing a social model of childhood disability.