Disabilities, Technologies, Medicine & Childhood

Disabilities, Technologies, Medicine & ChildhoodDisabled children, particularly those with physical impairments, often receive significant medical and therapeutic intervention throughout their childhood. Historical archive analyses and biographical research, particularly carried out by disability studies researchers, has highlighted the range of intensive treatments and practices children are subjected to, fow example placement in residential care, intensive physiotherapy, repeated surgery, the wearing of callipers and other restricting equipment.

Our work seeks to explore:

  • how the technologies disabled children engage with and the treatments they receive are significant to the formation of their identities and their social position
  • the extent to which the medical and therapeutic interventions adopted today differ from those in the UK in the post war period.

We will be moving this research forward on a number of fronts, including conference presentations, papers and bids for research funding. We have a number advisors – academic and non-academic – supporting our activities. 


  • Dr Sonali Shah - Principal Investigator (University of Glasgow)
  • Prof Janice Mclaughlin (Newcastle University)
  • Dr Chris Till (Leeds Beckett University)
  • Dr Kevin Paterson (University of Glasgow)

Project Dates

‌June to August 2014


‌Foundation for the Sociology of Health and Illness (SHI)



McLaughlin, J. (2014) Digital imagery and child embodiment in paediatric genetics: Sources and relationships of meaning, Sociology. 48(2): 216-232

Coleman-Fountain, E. and McLaughlin, J. (2013) The Interactions of Disability and Impairment, Social Theory and Health, 11(2): 133–150, published online: 14 November 2012

McLaughlin, J. and Clavering, E.K. (2012) Visualising Difference, Similarity and Belonging in Paediatric Genetics. Sociology of Health and Illness. 34(3): 459–474