“I am more than just my label”: rights, fights, validation and negotiation. Exploring theoretical debates on childhood disability with disabled young people

Geraldine Brady, Anita Franklin

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    Through the creation of safe spaces to explore and challenge negative, dominant views of disabled children and young people, this co-written paper presents unique insight into the meaning and impact of medical lenses and deficit models of disability upon disabled young peoples lives and its resonance within dominant debates in medical sociology, disability studies and childhood studies. Such bodies of work have so far largely overlooked the experiences and positioning of disabled children and young people and have rarely involved them in the development, or discussion, of theory. Drawing on empirical data, and through a series of creative, reflective workshops with a UK-based disabled young researchers’ collective (RIP:STARS), this paper discusses areas of theoretical importance identified by the disabled young researchers collective; the validation of their lives, negotiation of their identity and acceptance in society. The implications, and possibilities, of platforming disabled children and young people’s voices in theoretical debates are discussed, and are achieved through the yielding of privileged academic voice, and the development of a symbiotic, genuine partnership with disabled young people recognising them as experts in their own lives.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1376-1392
    Number of pages17
    JournalSociology of Health & Illness
    Issue number6
    Early online date21 Jun 2023
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2023


    • disability
    • youth
    • theory
    • voice
    • disabled young researchers
    • children's rights
    • youth activism
    • co-production
    • illness
    • social justice

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