Issues of empowerment and human rights for children and young people with severe learning disabilities through the development of participatory research strategies.
SLD Experience, 52(1) pp. 3–9.
The turn of the century has witnessed a significant shift towards involving children in issues that affect their lives fuelled by discourses of empowerment and children’s rights (Franklin, 2002; Kirby and Bryson, 2002; Sinclair, 2004). It has extended to children participating more actively in research – at times even leading their own research (Kellett et al 2004). This article discusses how we can involve children with severe learning disabilities in research in a more participatory way. This is clearly more challenging than participatory research with typically developing children but the level of challenge is not a sufficient justification for not engaging with the process. In this article I draw on research undertaken by children with moderate learning disabilities to show what is possible and to explore how this can inform what might be achieved with children who have severe learning disabilities. Before this I begin with a brief summary of the discourses that underpin the rational for this approach.
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