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UCL Beacon Bursary for Public Engagement

10 June 2010

Listen to us: Hearing the voices of disabled teenagers

Dr Mary Wickenden has been awarded this bursary which will be used to fund the design, production and dissemination of easy to read materials describing the outcomes of an indepth study of the lives of teenagers who have severe physical and communication disabilities.

The original study investigated the everyday lives of teenagers who have little or no speech and use a range of low and high tech methods to communicate. Mary spent eighteen months doing ethnographic fieldwork at their schools, homes and clubs to find out what life was really like for them and talking to them about their interests, priorities, concerns and ambitions for the future. The teenagers themselves were keen that the interesting and sometimes surprising things they told her should be heard about both by other young people, and interested adults, but also by those making policy and providing services for disabled young people.

A one day workshop bringing ten participants together to discuss the design and content of a booklet and an electronic resource will be organized in the autumn of 2010. This participatory process will be assisted by an adult research assistant with similar disabilities, and by speech and language therapy or disability students and art and design students from UCL.