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How do I disable people?

February 26, 2012

“Families should be asked what support their child requires not what is the matter with him or her.”

I took this quote from a short press release that you can access from the bottom of this post.

I found the press release while looking for information about Dan Goodley and Katherine Runswick-Cole after reading their article titled “The violence of disablism.”  from the journal Sociology of Health & Illness Vol.33 No. 4 2011.  doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9566.2010.01302.x

I’ll paste the address where I found the article here but it is incredibly long.   

http://s3.amazonaws.com/files.posterous.com/temp-2011-07-13/GqxdylmeDalzCndgChbxDDcxwyiuwnrwbamIgnyileElnygJjxsGoxovmCby/goodley_and_runswick_cole_violence.pdf?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAJFZAE65UYRT34AOQ&Expires=1330295193&Signature=tymBtbeDSUsX%2FnVquNYjS2iNzlQ%3D

Listing everything “that is wrong” with a child when assisting them and their families to access services/supports/equipment is an aspect of my job that I hate.  I justify doing it because it is often the only way for the child and his/her family to obtain the supports they need.  I am going to try to write things in a manner that describes what a child and family needs rather than what is “wrong”.  Any suggestions are more than welcome!

The article – the violence of disablism – has challenged me to ask myself what are my thoughts and feelings about impairments.  It pushes me to expose my ableism at least to myself.  I guess I will be doing that with any readers as well in future posts.  I can’t stop doing something if I don’t know I’m doing it so here’s to some – hopefully useful – naval gazing.

Sheila Howick Hamilton (also known as northernot) 

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From → labels/diagnoses

4 Comments
  1. Katherine Runswick-Cole permalink

    Thank you very much for this post. I was so delighted to stumble across it! What the article doesn’t tell you is that I am also the mother of a disabled child and continue to be asked the ‘what’s the matter’ question in interactions with services! So I was so pleased to see what you had to say about your practice and the comments posted here. Thank you!

    • I appreciate that you took the time to comment on my blog. I have read a number of your articles and look forward to reading more. Your comment came at a good time for me. You reminded me to think about what supports a child. It helped me to generate some practical solutions for someone who is struggling at school. Thank you.

  2. Thank you for your comment. Many children require supports as well as changes in how a school and a classroom are run in order to be truly included in the public education system (some private schools also. I’d love to hear more about your research for your thesis. Sheila

  3. I really enjoyed this post. I used many of the arguments from this research in my thesis on parental experiences with educational inclusion a while back. Thank you for reminding me once again of its worth = )

I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

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