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Open Access research with a European policy impact...

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EPRC is a leading institute in Europe for comparative research on public policy, with a particular focus on regional development policies. Spanning 30 European countries, EPRC research programmes have a strong emphasis on applied research and knowledge exchange, including the provision of policy advice to EU institutions and national and sub-national government authorities throughout Europe.

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

Connors, Clare and Stalker, Kirsten (2007) Children's experiences of disability: pointers to a social model of childhood disability. Disability and Society, 22 (1). pp. 19-33. ISSN 0968-7599

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Abstract

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 paper reports findings from a two-year study exploring the lived experiences of 26 disabled children 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. It is further argued that Thomas's (1999) social relational model of disability can help inform understandings of children's experiences, with 'barriers to being' having particular significance.