A Socially Constructed Notion of Disability: The Testimony of Two Young Adults with Disabilities

By Lily Dyson.

Published by The International Journal of Diverse Identities

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This study, based on the experiences and perceptions of two young adults living with disabilities (one with Down Syndrome and the other with Spina Bifida and deafness), examines the notion of disability as a socially constructed phenomenon. Anecdotal observations were made of these two young adults and interviews conducted with them and their mothers. The results found differing social attitudes and reactions experienced by the individuals with disabilities, which in turn led to different consequences in terms of their self-esteem. The implications of re-constructing the definition of disability are discussed, as well as the appropriate education and social services that might be provided for people with disabilities.

Keywords: Social Construction, Disability, Meaning of Disability, Young Adults, Societal Attitudes, Self-concept

International Journal of Diverse Identities, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp.49-59. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 405.637KB).

Dr. Lily Dyson

Professor, Education, University of Victoria, Victoria, B.C., Canada

Dr. Lily Dyson: Professor of Educational Psychology and Special Education at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada