Northampton Electronic Collection of Theses and Research

Disabilities, urban natures and children’s outdoor play

Horton, J. (2016) Disabilities, urban natures and children’s outdoor play. Social and Cultural Geography. 1464-9365.

Item Type: Article
Abstract: Normative, widely-circulated discourses about the value of outdoor, natural play for children overwhelmingly marginalise the experiences of families with disabled children, for whom outdoor/natural play can be characterised as a site of hard work, heartache, dread, resignation and inadequacy. This paper presents findings from research with sixty North London families with children aged 5-16 who have a statutory ‘Statement of Special Needs’. Focusing on these families’ experiences of visiting designated, newly-refurbished accessible natural play-spaces in two local country parks, the paper highlights: (i) the multiple, compound social-material ‘barriers to fun’ encountered in these spaces; (ii) the profound emotional-affective impacts of such barriers, most notably in terms of feelings of ‘resignation’ and ‘dread’; (iii) parents’/carers’ sadness occasioned by perceived ‘failures’ to ‘live up to’ normative ideals of parenting and family engagement with outdoor play and urban natures; (iv) nevertheless, the possibility of moments of family joy, love and ‘special’ time, afforded via families’ ‘hard work’ and ‘keeping going through hard times’. Through an engagement with recent conceptualisations of everyday geographies of disabilities, the paper suggests that these qualitative experiences complicate some chief, normative ways of ways of knowing outdoor play, urban natures and barriers to accessibility.
Creators: Horton, John
Faculties, Divisions and Institutes: Faculties > Faculty of Education & Humanities > Education, Children and Young People
Research Centres > Centre for Psychology and Social Sciences
Date: 1 November 2016
Date Type: Published Online
Journal or Publication Title: Social and Cultural Geography
Language: English
ISSN: 1464-9365
Status: Published / Disseminated
Refereed: Yes

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