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Self-advocacy, 'learning difficulties' and the social model of disability

Goodley, Dan A. and Sutherland, Kath and Armstrong, Derrick and Laurie, Linda (2003) Self-advocacy, 'learning difficulties' and the social model of disability. American Journal on Mental Retardation, 41 (3). pp. 149-160. ISSN 0895-8017

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In this paper we draw upon a research project whose authors examined the self-advocacy of people with the label of “learning difficulties.” We examined self-advocacy in action within groups and explored understandings of self-advocacy accounted for in personal narratives. We identified the background of our study, reflected on the use of ethnographic and narrative methods, and pinpointed three findings that highlight the significance of self-advocacy in the lives of people with the label of “learning difficulties”: (a) the distributed and multilocated nature of self-advocacy, (b) self-advocacy's dialogue with the relational nature of “learning difficulties,” and (c) support for the self-advocacy movement. We conclude that a variety of theoretical, policy, and practical implications surface through an engagement with the self-advocacy movement.

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