Acceptance, recognition and supported independence: Wellbeing for children and young people with a disability in New Zealand: The voice of youth with Down Syndrome
Kirk, M. L. (2019). Acceptance, recognition and supported independence: Wellbeing for children and young people with a disability in New Zealand: The voice of youth with Down Syndrome. (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/13841
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/13841
The aim of this thesis is to identify what wellbeing means for children and young people with a disability and the factors that influence wellbeing in the home, school, and the community. The research was carried out through consecutive interviews that captured children’s voice through the methods of visual sociology. Grounded theory was the basis for the analysis which produced rich data to describe the lives of these young people with Down syndrome. In addition, interviews were undertaken with parents and service providers at a local and national level to gain an insight into the celebrations and challenges of the everyday lives that were experienced by the young people and their families. Service provision was examined from the perspective of all three groups of participants. Wellbeing is a complex phenomenon and although there has been increasing interest in this field, particularly for children, there is a dearth of research about wellbeing for children and young people with a disability. The findings of the research pointed to three key principles of wellbeing: acceptance, recognition, and supported independence. These three key principles form the basis of three models in the findings. The first model is an ecological perspective; it illustrates how the level at which policy is introduced and implemented intersects and works to benefit or hinder the service provision in schools and for the children and their families. The second model—the dimensions of wellbeing for children and young people—emerged from the data and was used in conjunction with the ecological perspective model to develop the supporting teaching practice for students with Down syndrome and learning disability programme. The third model is, therefore, a capability model for schools. The result of the research is the creation of practical tools that can be used to review policy and service provision with the aim of ensuring that children and young people with a disability enjoy entitlements equal to those of all children in New Zealand.
The University of Waikato
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