Learning about Disability in Lancaster
Prof Lisa Saville Young and her two students, Tracey Fleming (studying towards a PhD) and Nicole Cooke (studying towards an MBT) recently attended the Disability Studies Conference at Lancaster University, UK. The conference trip was made possible by an NRF grant awarded to research the process and outcome of a service learning programme currently on offer at Honours level in the department. The service learning programme introduces students to a psychological understanding of childhood disability. Through an established partnership with the Association for Persons with Physical Disabilities (APD) and the Department of Health Rehabilitation Department, the service learning programme involves students attending a series of seminars while simultaneously conducting home visits with caregivers and their children with disabilities in Grahamstown East. Tracey and Lisa presented a paper at the conference outlining a particular methodological approach to researching the experiences of students enrolled in this programme. Nicole and Lisa presented initial findings of the experiences of the caregivers and children in participating in the programme. The conference provided an extremely stimulating environment to develop research ideas and, in particular, emphasized the importance of advocacy in disability studies. Lisa, Nicole and Tracey also found time to enjoy exploring the beautiful city – managing a tour of the Lancaster Castle, quenching their thirst afterwards with a taste of the local cider!