‘What about my voice’: emancipating the voices of children with disabilities through participant-centred methods
Stafford, L, What about my voice': emancipating the voices of children with disabilities through participant-centred methods, Children's Geographies, 15, (5) pp. 600-613. ISSN 1473-3277 (2017) [Refereed Article]
Children with diverse physical, communication and/or cognitive impairments are often overlooked as active research participants. This paper challenges and lays bare norms and constructs, such as ableism and adultism, which lead to children with disabilities being left out or researched by-proxy. Additionally, the paper contests these constructs through discussing and presenting participant-centred research methods that seeks to enable children’s involvement and establish them as legitimate research participants. The application of these methods in children geography studies is illustrated through the author’s own use of creative methods of activity-based interviews and co-construction narration with older children with various physical/neurological impairments. Overall, the aim of the paper is to bridge some gaps, dispel assumptions and inspire researchers with additional ways of conceptualising and approaching research with children with disabilities, since the inclusion of all children in research rests with researchers and their understanding and use of appropriate research methods.