By Clare Connors and Kirsten Stalker.
Jessica Kingsley Publishers
Despite government exhortations for services to find out the views of disabled children, many professionals seem to have ambivalent and diffident attitudes towards hearing those children’s voices.
But here is a book that will not only boost the confidence of professionals unsure how to begin such conversations, but will convince them of the rewards of doing so.
Connors and Stalker’s two-year research, framed by the social model of disability, explored the impact of disability from the standpoint of the children and their siblings. The children knock down stereotypes of disabled children and their families. They show there is little evidence that they are passive individuals around whom their families revolve. Similarly, the children’s picture of themselves at school shows them happy and active.
These children’s lives are ordinary, complex and diverse yet they are also engaged in a struggle against the effects of negative attitudes and responses to impairment.
The conclusions spell out lessons for services, in particular to celebrate difference, encourage open communication and trust the children to tell them how it really is.
Christine Wilson is a disability equality consultant.