From Medication to Meditation: A Critical Disability Studies Analysis of Mindfulness-Based Practices for Children With Learning Disabilities

Emma Peddigrew, John McNamara


Throughout the past 70 years, the field of LDs has aimed to support children, youth, as well as their families, to generate definitions, understand neurological contributions and create meaningful policies and practices. However, despite decades of research, an emphasis on early identification and prevention, and significant policy documents, children and youth with LDs continue to face equally as important difficulties related to one’s social and emotional well-being. Critical disability studies (CDS) identifies how political, educational, and social contexts serve as sites for (in)justice (Shildrick, 2007). A CDS framework aims to resist the emphasis of individual impairment and deficiency while incorporating the interests and voices of the individuals with disabilities themselves. Few studies have analyzed the impact of mindfulness on how children with LDs cope with stress, ‘failure’, and understand their bodies. As a result, this paper will ask: how can mindfulness-based practices be used as a tool to improve the overall well-being of children and youth with a LD? With support from CDS and the utilization of mindfulness-based practices, children and youth with LDs can become connected to the body and mind. This study will enable future research on the importance of self-advocacy, coping, confidence, attention, and emotional regulation for children with LDs. It is through these liberating frameworks that children with LDs can become emancipated from political, historic, social, and cultural constraints.

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Journal of Education and Development  ISSN 2529-7996 (Print)  ISSN 2591-7250 (Online)

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