Experiences of Early Childhood Educators with Disabilities: A Critical Disability Theory Perspective




McGowan, Tyrone Kevin

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This qualitative, multiple-case study used critical disability theory as a lens for exploring the classroom and school-based experiences of three early childhood teachers with physical disabilities. All three early childhood teachers participated in semi-structured interviews. In addition, two of the three early childhood teachers participated in a second interview and submitted written reflections. Each participant's themes were organized into three categories: ability tolerance, covert ableism, and overt ableism. There were instances of covert and overt ableism; however, these acts of ableism did not impede these early childhood teachers from fully participating in the professional experiences within their current school workplace cultures. During the interviews and written reflections, none of the early childhood teachers mentioned anything related to their current employment being in jeopardy because of their physical disabilities. Moreover, they did not mention anything related to being intimidated in regards to addressing issues ix related to ableism within their school workplace cultures. Suggestions for future research, policy, and practice are discussed.



Early childhood education, Ableism, Critical disability theory, Early childhood, Teachers with disabilities