Although these discourses construct disability differently, three of them – the lay, charity and medical discourses – view disability very negatively. The lay discourse sees disability as something to be fearful of and therefore chooses to ignore it. According to the charity discourse people who are disabled should be pitied and helped because they are dependent and helpless. The medical discourse defines disability as abnormal – a “sickness” that requires treatment by medical experts. This study endeavors to challenge the stereotypical “picture” of a person with a disability. By conducting a narrative research design the life-world of a unique boy (who has a physical disability, called spina bifida) is captured in the telling of his life-story. A narrative research design was specifically chosen to portray the context and life-experiences (good and bad) of this little boy – a child in totality. The narrative life-story was written in the first person in order to invite the reader as a co-participant into the world of a boy with spina bifida. An asset-based approach accompanied the narrative research design in order to explore whether positive aspects of this boy’s life-world could be identified. Where disability is concerned, the asset-based approach proposes a shift from the traditional “deficit approach” towards a “strength-based approach”. This study not only tells the captivating life-story of a boy with a physical disability, but also identifies and embraces the positive side of living with a disability.
Dissertation (MEd (Educational Psychology))--University of Pretoria, 2006.