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A study to raise the voices of young disabled people preparing for life beyond segregated school: the power of disability research in promoting advocacy

Doyle, P (2014) A study to raise the voices of young disabled people preparing for life beyond segregated school: the power of disability research in promoting advocacy. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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This PhD is about the transition of young people with multiple impairments from a segregated special schoo l into adult life, focusing on their own views and aspirations about their futures. A qualitative research study is presented which explores the role of ‘advocacy’ partly through the lens of the researcher’s own experiences as a person with multiple impairments and partly through research-led advocacy sessions created with young disabled people which enabled discussions with them about their futures. Data collected in the context of the research-led advocacy sessions, plus data gathered through conversations and events which took place as part of the daily life of the school over a four-year period have been analysed to consider the importance of opportunities for advocacy for young disabled people in segregated settings. Analysis was complemented by drawing on autobiographical material from the researcher’s own experience so that dimensions of ethnography and auto-ethnography are also at the heart of the project. The complimentary forms of data are brought together through analysis and critical reflection. The issue of transition from segregated school for young disabled people is discussed with the social model of disability as the central theoretical framework. The value of social model thinking in enabling young disabled school leavers becomes clear in contrast with the medical model approach which characterises many aspects of the young people’s experience of segregated education. The main finding of the research is that young people with multiple impairments are concerned about their transition from segregated school to adulthood and these concerns do need to be heard, listened to and acted upon more robustly than was evident at the time of this study. A further key finding of this piece of work is that young people with impairments can and should take part in research concerning their own experience. Moreover, the study shows how a researcher with multiple impairments can conduct valuable disability research. It is argued that the quality of data gathered by a disabled researcher can be enhanced, rather than impeded, by the researcher’s experience of impairment. There are several important findings to this study; segregated schooling limits the capacity for young disabled people to be prepared for life beyond school; opportunities for advocacy are essential for positive transition beyond school for pupils who attend segregated settings; people with impairments have a unique and crucial role to play in the production of research that will break down segregating and disabling barriers.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Disability research, advocacy, transition, segregated school
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > School of Education (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.628576
Depositing User: Dr. P Doyle
Date Deposited: 27 Oct 2014 10:38
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2016 11:18
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/7064

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