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Children with autism in a sport and physical activity context: a collaborative autoethnography by two parents outlining their experiences


McMahon, J and Mckeown, G and McGannon, KR and Rayner, C, Children with autism in a sport and physical activity context: a collaborative autoethnography by two parents outlining their experiences, Sport, Education and Society, 25, (9) pp. 1002-1014. ISSN 1470-1243 (2019) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group

DOI: doi:10.1080/13573322.2019.1680535


Sport and physical activity contexts are entrenched with ableist perspectives which view disability as abnormal or negative. Consequently, those who deviate from cultural norms may experience inequity, exclusion, stigmatisation, non-accidental violence and maltreatment. Despite the commitment to ensuring sport and physical activity is safe and inclusive through policies and programmes, more knowledge is needed about the welfare-related experiences of persons with a disability in sport and physical activity to better protect them. This research used collaborative autoethnography and Goffman’s theory of stigma to explore two mothers’ experiences in a sport and physical activity context, including what they saw, what they felt and what they perceived their children with a disability experienced. This research shows both mothers experienced stigma (e.g. enacted, courtesy, affiliate) due to their immersion and the actions of others in these contexts. Further, both mothers also perceived that their children with a disability experienced the same types of stigma in these contexts as well as the negative consequences related to this stigma (e.g. bullying, social isolation, exclusion, judgement, labelling, anxiety). These acts of stigmatisation positioned both them and their children as outsiders within the stories. This collaborative autoethnography highlights the lack of provisions for disabled children and their families in sport and physical activity contexts, and the persistence of ableist views.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:stigma, disability, creative analytical practices, sport, safeguarding
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Specialist studies in education
Research Field:Special education and disability
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Other health
Objective Field:Other health not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:McMahon, J (Associate Professor Jennifer McMahon)
UTAS Author:Mckeown, G (Mrs Gilly Mckeown)
UTAS Author:Rayner, C (Dr Christopher Rayner)
ID Code:135389
Year Published:2019
Web of Science® Times Cited:4
Deposited By:Education
Deposited On:2019-10-17
Last Modified:2022-07-06
Downloads:3 View Download Statistics

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