The ability to speak, and speak well, has been subsumed into our ideas of what it means to be a human being. Speech is governed by ableist norms of coherence and competence, and these norms decide who can be considered a good speaker. Conversely, speakers who fail to conform to these norms are treated as pathological and broken. Within this environment, disabled speakers experience stigma and discrimination. Their experience of an ableist world effects their self-identity, and they can internalise the low expectations of an ableist world.
Despite these insights there is a paucity of research which looks specifically at the ways in which disabled people think about their speech (and their selves). We invited people with a life-long experience of being a disabled speaker to respond to an on-line survey. This presentation will draw on data from this ongoing research to explore how ableist norms of coherence and competence are reflected in the ways that impaired speakers talk about themselves, and the ways that these norms, and our failure to live up to them, can result in breaks to our voices. Only after understanding the ways that disabled speakers interact with the often damaging norms that surround them can we attempt to resist them, resistance which is critical for improving practice, policy and inclusion for those with impaired speech.
Lesley Champion - PhD Candidate
Lesley Champion is a PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne under the supervision of Prof Keith McVilly.
Having recently moved from linguistics into disability studies, her own experience of living with cerebral palsy and impaired speech inspired her to explore the ways that disabled speech is understood within ableist culture and often broken by it.
Her work is particularly interested in the experiences of disabled people themselves, how these stories interact with ableist culture, how we can potentially think differently about impaired speech, and how we may tell stories which often go unheard.
This is a LIVE 60 minute webinar, free for AGOSCI members to access.
A recording will be available to AGOSCI members afterwards.
ABN 74 607 243 620AO A0022584B
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