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Dr Sonali Shah Centre for Disability Studies, University of Leeds 1.

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Presentation on theme: "Dr Sonali Shah Centre for Disability Studies, University of Leeds 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 Dr Sonali Shah Centre for Disability Studies, University of Leeds 1

2 Introduction Post Second World War – new public policies & political consciousness around disability as public issue Focus on people with physical impairments born in UK in different generational and historical times: 1940s- WWII, Postwar Welfare State, first attempts to address disability as public issue 1960s – challenging social exclusion vs new generation of segregated institutions 1980s – new era of non-discrimination legislation affecting different aspects of life (DDA 2005, Equality Act 2010) 2

3 Methods and Questions How can disabled people’s narratives tell us: Has life changed for disabled people since WWII? What are the resources that make a difference in disabled people’s lives? Have they changed over time? To what extent has social policy developments made a difference to the real life experiences of disabled people? Examine how empirical life histories from different generations can help us understand actual change in Policies, Institutions, Relationships and Barriers 3

4 Sample 58 people with physical impairments (childhood or birth) Males and Females born in 1940s, 1960s, 1980s Grew up in England Voluntary participation Addresses diversity of experiences, not statistically significant 4

5 Thematic Results: public vs private FAMILY The ‘great confinement’ of disabled people (74,004 by the end of Victoria’s reign in 1901) but the majority of admissions for two years or less For the first half of the 20th Century 250,000 million disabled children grew up in institutions away from family life I think I used to go home about twice a term for weekend. I never saw my parents as my parents because I didn’t know who they were. They were just people who used to come and see me and my sister used to come along... I stopped going home at leave weekends. Basically I was only going home what, once every six, seven weeks… I used to go home to sit in my bedroom and not – not really communicate with them really, just a sulking teenager 5

6 MEDICINE Children with suspected infantile paralysis were immediately placed in complete isolation in the nearest hospital to avoid contamination Predominance of medical authority in the separation of disabled children from family life Also epidemics tuberculosis, rickets and polio (1940s and 1950s) when I got polio… nobody quite knew how to treat it and so I was taken into an isolation hospital in [East Midlands county]… my parents were only allowed to see me through a glass window in the door of the room that I was in… I was there for several months and then transferred directly form the isolation hospital to an orthopaedic hospital without going home… I came home again when I was four. 6

7 EDUCATION 1978 Warnock Report, 1981 Education Act, 1996 Education Act, SENDA 2001… but 40% children with SEN in special schools in 21st Century Post-war development of special schools for children ‘who cannot be educated satisfactorily in an ordinary school’ – 44% increase in children attending special schools my memories are that I was always separated away from the class…always segregated from the class which is a bit, you know – but that's my major memory of it really and being made to feel different… (born 1960s) They made me have a lot more support than I needed because by having me in the class they could have a learning support assistant who could then help other students as well. So I was forced to have learning support assistants when I didn’t want them. (born 1980s) 7

8 8 CULTURE AND IDENTITY Post-war cultural scripts – charity, correction, cure, pity, spectacle, fascination, vulnerable ‘I can quite clearly remember being tied to the sides of the cot so as you couldn’t stand up… the doctors had decided that if there’s something wrong with your back you have to lie flat… So I was there for about a year and I would say they probably gave me physio probably most days’. New consciousness around disability – personal tragedy to social model Move from personal trouble to public issues When they had the first year of the disabled, I think it was, that changed a lot for people. There were a lot of things on TV that highlighted conditions and made people, started to make people more aware and it’s been gradually growing since then.

9 Work and Employment 1944 Act ;Designated employment; sheltered workshop; Quota system I went to the Job Centre as a 16-year-old, I had a Green Card. I had my disability, my Green Card, and he actually said, ‘well, there is a lift job at this big store in [another suburb]’. He said, and ‘you’ll be able to sit most of the time’ … it was like the old jobs, that was kept for people with disabilities, you know, you could be a lift attendant, car park attendant, these really brilliant jobs Connexions; Disabled People’s Organisations; DDA 1995; Access to Work; Reasonable Accommodations & ICT There was a new thing that came out and it was something that was started through [the company] for disabled and we had a meeting and said, ‘Right, if you can’t get in that door, [the company] has to do this for you’ and they said what you were entitled to … 9

10 Where are we now? Concluding thought I also think we’re in quite an exciting world now because I do think lots and lots of things are – have changed. And I just think we’re in a really frightening time because I think there’s also potential for us to go backwards as well. Ref: Shah. S., Priestley. Disability & Social Change: public policies and private lives. Bristol: Policy Press 10

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