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Transitions Theatre: Creating a Research-Based Reader’s Theatre With Disabled Youth and Their Families

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posted on 2023-01-24, 21:52 authored by Yukari SekoYukari Seko, Anna Oh, C.J. Curran, Gillian King

Transition to adult life can be a challenging time for disabled youth and their families. This article describes the collaborative creation of Transitions Theatre, a research-based reader’s theatre activity based on narrative interviews with eight disabled youth (aged 17–22) and seven parents. Analysis of these interviews generated two opposing yet interrelated themes. On one hand, youth and families felt lost in transition facing multiple gaps in healthcare, financial support, education, and opportunities for social participation after having “aged out” of the pediatric system. On the other hand, they started cripping “normal” adulthood to envision more inclusive futures wherein disabilities are understood as integral to society. These two themes were transformed into two reader’s theatre scripts, one featuring a youth, the other featuring a parent. Seven youth and four parents (six of them were original interview participants) then participated in a Transitions Theatre workshop to read the scripts together and discuss the authenticity and relatability of the scripts. Participant feedback suggested that the reader’s theatre method was effective in sharing findings with research participants and stimulating a critical dialogue on how to (re)imagine transition to adulthood. We discuss the importance of implementing inclusive design strategies to make reader’s theatre accessible to participants with diverse abilities and preferences.

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