By Colette McAuley, Wendy Rose, Gillian Pugh
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Extra info for Child Well-Being: Understanding Children's Lives
It must get him upset sometimes. (12-year-old girl commenting about her brother being stared at in public places) Children’s Views on Child Well-Being | 47 Examples of physical attacks were reported by siblings. Most reacted with anger and attempted to protect their siblings or turn on the bullies. Five reported having been the target of bullies themselves for having a disabled sibling. They were very conscious of their parents’ anxieties, deciding sometimes not to tell them as it might add to their worries.
They expressed their hurt at such behaviour. Some reported it to parents or teachers and others took matters into their own hands and turned on the bullies. In their research, the authors drew on the work of Thomas (1999) on the social– relational model of disability to understand the children’s experiences. Where non-impaired people behave in a hurtful, hostile or inappropriate manner that has a negative effect on an individual’s sense of self – affecting what they feel they can be or become – that is referred to as a ‘barrier to being’.
They attended a range of schools: special (segregated), mainstream (inclusive) and integrated (segregrated units within mainstream schools). Their parents were also interviewed. The majority of children appeared to be happy within themselves. Most of them appeared to have a practical, pragmatic attitude to their impairment even though they talked about repeated infections, being tired easily and suffering pain. They seemed to have learned to manage these things. Most focused on the similarities of their lives to those of their peers.