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Webcast: Negotiating the Social Borderlands

Portraits of Young People with Disabilities and Their Struggles for Positive Relationships

Date: February 19, 2013

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About The Book

Negotiating the Social Borderlands: Portraits of Young People with Disabilities and Their Struggles for Positive Relationships shares with readers the lives of three young people with significant intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Janet Sauer uses portraiture to narrate the stories of these young people and to capture the myriad dimensions of each, balancing empirical description and aesthetic expression to provide a singular, compelling view into the nuances and complexities of their lives.

Determined to never lose sight of the dimensions of the selves of these notable young people and the social contexts in which they live, Sauer utilizes the qualitative techniques of inquiry to examine the complexities involved in the co-constructions of meaning among the young people and their communication partners. In this presentation Sauer will describe how she found the patterns of communication with and about these young people illustrated issues of social segregation, and yet, when a child’s agency is acknowledged and power is negotiated, opportunities for positive reciprocal relationships are possible. Sauer will also describe how literacy, broadly defined, emerged as a tool for negotiation. Without wavering, she explores their deep, personal relationships; the contexts in which these positive reciprocal relationships developed; and how the relationships evolved from the perspectives of each participant. 

Negotiating the Social Borderlands, an unapologetic presentation of a remarkable set of narrative portraits, is written for a broad audience and offers an inherently complex, sensitive rendering of three personal stories in which a variety of important social issues can be seen and then examined and discussed in light of each reader’s practices, policies, and perspectives.

About The Speaker

Janet Sauer

Janet Sauer is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Special Education at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.  Prior to joining the UCCS faculty, Dr. Sauer developed and taught in a Professional Development School for Special Education in Dubuque, Iowa.  She earned her doctorate in Special Education from the University of Northern Iowa where she also worked as a Graduate Research Assistant for the Inclusive Early Childhood Literate Community Project.  Her research interests focus on examining positive relationships in inclusive contexts, the nature of creativity as access to literacy, and interdisciplinary collaboration.

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