Opinions and Representations of Rights in Children with Visual Impairment. Findings from a Research Conducted in Italy

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 10:42 AM
Room: Booth 64
Oral Presentation
Roberta BOSISIO , Department of Culture, Politics and Society, University of Turin, Turin, Italy
Alessandra CASERINI , University of Milano-Bicocca, Milan, Italy
Young disabled people are subjected to a dual risk of social marginalization because of their age and disability. This risk is closely related to the conception we have of children and of disability. Current approach in childhood and disability studies considers children and disabled people as active members of society, subjects with rights, capable to express their opinions, identify their needs and claim rights. This tendency is stated – among others – in two international legal documents: the 1989 UN CRC and the 2008 UN CRPD.

But which representations do disabled children have of themselves, their agency and rights? We can assume that such representations are related on how they/we define childhood (an age characterized by incompleteness and vulnerability rather than an age whose components are competent social beings) and disability (an internal condition of individual rather than an external condition determined by structural and organizational circumstances).

To answer these questions we planned a research with Italian visually impaired 12-18 year-old children that integrates quantitative and qualitative methods. First, we will carry on a web-survey with a national sample of visually impaired children. We will ask questions on their knowledge, representations and respect of their rights at home, school and in their spare time. Second, we will conduct 12 focus groups and 30 in depth interviews to identify, analyse and look for solutions to issues concerning violations of their rights. Some children will be involved in the research-planning in order to implement a web-platform accessible to them, and to identify the topics to be addressed. For all these respects, the research contributes to the field of study related to the sociology of children’s rights (aiming to investigate the “common sense of law” developed by children in their everyday normative and legal experiences), and the field of participatory and emancipatory research.