Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities | VOL. 47
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Reconceptualizing Education Grounded in the Multimodal Discourses of Girls of Color Labeled with Significant Cognitive Disabilities

Publication Date Aug 23, 2022

Abstract

The experiences of girls of color labeled with significant cognitive disabilities in middle school and high school have historically been excluded from educational research. This study sought to better understand how girls of color labeled with significant cognitive disabilities navigated multimodal discourses and classroom practices as well as how they were impacted by them. Using Disability Critical Race Theory and critical discourse theory, six students were focal participants and eight educators were secondary participants. Multiple case studies were used with primary (i.e., observations, audio/video recordings) and secondary (i.e., interviews, focus groups) data sources. Findings revealed how focal participants showed their discursive resourcefulness, despite absent communication supports and prioritization of oral/aural communication. Students also repositioned themselves in response to marginalization through talk and actions. Implications for research and practice are discussed. This study underscores the necessity of centering the experiences of girls of color labeled with significant cognitive disabilities in educational research to improve their school experiences.

Concepts

Significant Cognitive Disabilities Disability Critical Race Theory Critical Discourse Theory Significant Disabilities Multimodal Discourses Multiple Case Studies School Experiences Classroom Practices Critical Theory Middle School

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