Joan B. Cohen

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Open Access Capstone

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This paper is the study of a process, namely of how a group of disabled women begin to re-frame how they see themselves, and how along with this re-framing, re-define their possibilities in their community and their world.

The process was undertaken by the author and a group of disabled women in El Salvador who belonged to the Women's Program of ACOGIPRI in San Salvador. Using a family literacy model and alternative paradigm research as her basis for inquiry the author examines how disabled women can effectively use, in their everyday lives, their knowledges, their articulations and their experiences as a base for new "literacies" that will allow for the re-defining of interactions or the creation of new interactions in their families and communities that can foster personal development and increase the possibility to effect change in their external world.

The research process took the form of interviews, a support group and eventually outreach into the community. This combination of activities helped these women, and the research, better understand how a group of people can meaningfully interact with existing "developmental programs," and when no program exists, develop meaningful alternatives that capitalize on the inherent strength, wisdom and insight of those struggling to be heard and seen.



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