How We Talk when We Talk About Disabled Children and Their Families: An Invitation to Queer the Discourse
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Despite contemporary perspectives in resource-oriented music therapy, community music therapy, and anti-oppressive practice, there seems still to be a tendency to describe disabled children and their families in a pathologizing, problem-focused way. Disability is often located within the child and not in the societal structures that sustain and support the concept of disability as tragedy and burden for the families. Queer theories challenge the concepts of normality and fixed identities, reject pathologization, and politicize access. In this paper, I attempt to explore how queer theories offer a critical perspective on normativity, identity, and power. I will do this by exploring the concept of normality and normativity and discourse current representations of disabled children in the music therapy literature and by reflecting upon an ongoing participatory action research project where I aim to co-create knowledge on musicking, its accessibility, and meaning together with disabled children and their families. I argue that we need to change the way we talk and write about our practice as well as to challenge the concepts and attitudes toward diversity in order to contribute to inclusive environments that appreciate and celebrate diversity.