Counselling, autism and the problem of empathy

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Hodge, Nick (2013)

<p>In this paper, we explore the participation of disabled children, young people and their families in leisure activities. Drawing on the accounts of disabled children, young people and their parents and carers, we reflect on the leisure spaces that they access and record some of their experiences within them. Using the concept of ‘ableism’ (Campbell 2009) we interrogate the data gathered as part a two-year project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (RES – 062-23-1138) (http//www.rihsc.mmu.ac.uk/postblairproject/):‘Does every child matter, Post-Blair: the interconnections of disabled childhoods'. By doing so we identify some of the inherent and embedded discriminations in favour of those children and young people who are perceived to be ‘able’ that simultaneously work to exclude the young 'kinds of people' (Hacking 2007), categorised as 'disabled', and their families from leisure facilities and opportunities. We suggest that currently, disabled families and children occupy a mix of ‘mainstream', ‘segregated’ and ‘separate’ leisure spaces. We discuss the impact of occupying these spaces and ask:\ud <ol>\ud <li>What do the experiences of accessing leisure by disabled children, young people and their families reveal about the processes and practices of ableism?</li>\ud <li>To what extent are children and families required to 'pass'as'normal enough' to gain access to leisure spaces?</li>\ud <li>To what extent are ‘segregated’ leisure opportunities regulated and produced by a kind of ‘diagnostic apartheid’ (Campbell 2008a: 155)? </li>\ud <li>What is the role and value of 'separate' leisure activities?</li>\ud </ol></p>
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