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Our Research

The Inclusive Early Childhood Service System (IECSS) is a 14-year partnership that seeks to understand the institutional interactions of families who have young children with disabilities. The study has three specific objectives.

Objective 1

Understanding families’ earliest experiences with early childhood services helps us as a society to understand the construction of some children as disabled. The project adopts an Institutional Ethnography approach through annual interviews with families over a 14-year period. This study of institutional practices draws on more than 156 interviews with mothers, foster parents, fathers, adoptive and guardian parents, and grandparents.

Objective 2

We consider how the construction of children and families in these services intersects with cultural identities. For example, we are examining how disability can develop as a cultural experience, into a positive self-concept in adulthood. The project seeks to develop theoretical models of the social networks created by services, families, and the communities in which people live.

Objective 3

Our ultimate goal is to inform social policy from the perspective of families, and to create a more complex discourse on early childhood disability that is grounded in a positive understanding of diverse abilities in childhood.