Publication Details

N. Wedgwood, L. Smith, G. Llewellyn & R. Shuttleworth, "An eye opening experience: A critical turning point in the life of a young woman with a severe visual impairment", Journal of Social Inclusion 4 1 (2013) 5-23.


Research on social inclusion often focuses on social exclusion. However, in order to gain greater insights into ways to facilitate social change, it is equally important to research the social inclusion of those normally excluded. Indeed, while one important purpose of studying disabilism is to catalogue and critique all its forms, another critical purpose is to better understand how disabilism can be resisted and/or ameliorated at individual and/or societal levels. Thus, it is equally important to understand when, why and how disabilism does not negatively impact the lives of people with impairments as well as when it does. This paper presents a single case study of Lynette, a young woman with a severe visual impairment who has a life-changing experience in an inclusive environment. In particular, it explores the impact of exclusive and inclusive contexts on Lynette's identity development as she transitions to adulthood. By juxtaposing Lynette's experiences of exclusion with those of inclusion, it highlights contexts in which there is a critical mass of people with impairments living alongside able-bodied people as a possible antecedent/impetus for greater social inclusion of people with impairments in society more generally.