Keynote: Children and Disabled Children Globally: Are They One Group or Several?

In this talk I will focus on children and disabled children in the Global South and the ways in which they are seen as one group or several. How are such boundaries drawn and who do they benefit? I will reflect on ways in which the lifeworlds and experiences of children living in the global south can be considered in the same or different ways as their peers living in the Global North and how disability intersects with such questions. Subsequently I will discuss whether judgements about sameness or difference in relation to ‘disabled’ and ‘nondisabled’ children are useful when considering their lives in diverse settings. I will consider the influence of developmental approaches to children and childhood in low resource settings and how these shape what happens. I will also consider some key concepts which abound in discourses about children and disabled children in particular such as ‘inclusion’, ‘vulnerability’ ‘agency’ and ‘participation’. I will discuss whether and to what extent these terms are useful in relation to improving all children’s lives, especially in global south contexts. Lastly I will discuss how research and theory about disabled children can be mainstreamed into the discussions about children and childhood more broadly in the north, the south or globally.

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