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Living a useful life: Physically disabled children in New Zealand 1935 - 1980s

This dissertation examines the history of physically disabled children in New Zealand between 1935 and the mid 1980s. It is designed to provide an insight into a dimension of history that has been missing from mainstream histories. It examines official and popular attitudes towards disabled people and the changes to these over the period discussed here. Using a range of primary and secondary materials, this study indicates the ways the notion of 'social utility' has given way to discussions about equality with regards to the role of disabled children in New Zealand society. The dissertation introduces ideas and theories about the study of disability in a general sense and applies them in a New Zealand context. It also introduces ideas about childhood and applies these to disabled children in New Zealand. This dissertation explores events that have been pivotal in the study of disability, for example, the emergence of the Crippled Children Society (later CCS) and changes in the fields of rehabilitation and special education. Events such as the beginning of Social Security are discussed in the light of their impact upon childhood disability. Other developments in the health sector such as the increase in orthopaedic practice have had an impact upon the lives of disabled children. This dissertation explores the relationship between the field of Orthopaedics and the Crippled Children Society which was the main agency providing for the needs of disabled children. A further area that is explored is the influence of visiting specialist Dr Earl Carlson as well as parental guides upon the treatment of disabled children. The final section looks at the changes in special education including ideas about inclusion and mainstreaming. It discusses the notion that education changed from a focus on utility to one of equality. It also explores the role of the family with regards to education.
Type of thesis
Pooley, E. (2001). Living a useful life: Physically disabled children in New Zealand 1935 - 1980s (Thesis, Master of Social Sciences). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/10228
University of Waikato
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