Support Professionals and Students in the
Field of Developmental Disabilities

Journal on Developmental Disabilities

The Journal on Developmental Disabilities is a peer-reviewed journal with a growing regional and international readership.

Volume 27 Number 2 – Changing Social Welfare Provisions and Shifting Family Dynamics


We’ve Got Each Other’s Backs! A Found Poem on the Meaning of Family from the Perspectives of a “Client”, Parent and Caregiver
Shari Brotman, David Kinloch and Stephen Thomas

This arts-based submission reflects the perspectives of David, who identifies himself as a person living with an “understanding disability and mental health challenges”, his mom Shari, and Stephen, David’s formal caregiver in a “family type resource”. Our poem explores the idea of family as a concept and an experience. We created our poem through a combination of discussion and reflection on how our understanding of family has been shaped by our journey together. We pulled meaningful statements from recorded conversations, discussed our choices, and created our poem. Over the course of 5 years our connection has resulted in what we call a “found family”; bound by shared values and experiences in which hope has become possible. In creating this poem, we explore our experiences of “recovery to discovery”. Our poem reveals the possibilities for, and challenges in, creating a sense of belonging akin to family within a group home setting. We share, in our own words (using different fonts to identify our unique voices), our thoughts about key factors such as trust, comfort and belonging that reveal pathways to emotional and spiritual growth as individuals and together. We’ve got each other’s backs is a celebration of “found family”.

Making Memories, Making Madness: Mad (M)others of Disabled Children Write Back Through Digital Storytelling
Patty Douglas, Katherine Runswick-Cole, Penny Fogg and Sara Ryan

This article focuses on a story of education, mothering, disability and madness, with two aims in mind: ● To reveal and to reflect upon the ways in which (m)others of dis/abled children are labelled as, and are made to feel, mad in their encounters with the psy-professions (education, psychology and psychiatry). ● To explore the potential of digital storytelling as a method of writing back against dominant oppressive narratives of education, mothering and disability. This paper is written by mothers of adult offspring with disabilities about our experiences of raising our children. We write about our experiences of making a film about being mothers. We explain that we have all been told by professionals that our beliefs about our children and what is best for them are mad—that is, they are unreasonable or not to be trusted. In the paper, we reject this view and argue that our voices should be listened to. We hope that this story telling process can reveal the ways in which discourses of madness are used to oppress (m)others of dis/abled children in encounters in education. We also hope that we can begin to build narratives of resistance so that madness no longer becomes the discourse of choice in encounters between (m)others and practitioners.