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Title: Risks, rationalities and realities : learning disabled children's access to the outdoors
Author: Von Benzon, Nadia Rosemary
ISNI:       0000 0004 5360 3294
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2014
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Over the last 25 years geographers, amongst other social scientists, have become increasingly interested in the lived experience of childhood (Cloke and Jones, 2005). One area of interest has been children’s environmental access, with a focus on independent access, mobility and play (Thomson and Philo, 2004). The dominant narrative of this work has been focused on the decreasing quantity and quality of children’s natural environment experiences (Valentine and McKendrick, 1997), positioned primarily as a result of changing approaches to risk perception and management, in both families and schools (Malone, 2007). This thesis explores children’s own perspectives, specifically looking at the lived experiences of learning disabled children, a group largely absent from geographical research (bar Goodfellow, 2012; and Holt, 2010). A mixed qualitative methods approach is used, borrowing from participatory geography techniques and using a range of media including video diaries. The thesis finds that learning disabled young people experience stigma in their interactions with outdoor spaces that are characterised by being highly structured and supervised. As a result learning disabled young people struggle to develop skills and interests in accessing outdoor spaces, and do not utilise outdoor green spaces as sites of peaceful solitude or landscapes of socialising. This research contributes to children’s geographies through the interpretation of new empirical data and the development of methodological approaches for including learning disabled young people in research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: ESRC
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Childhood, learning disability, nature