‘It’s alright. My mum will fix it.’: Using the experiences of dyslexic children and their parents to draw a distinction between advocacy and allyship

Presentation


Leslie, Rachel. 2023. "‘It’s alright. My mum will fix it.’: Using the experiences of dyslexic children and their parents to draw a distinction between advocacy and allyship." Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) 2023 Annual Conference. Melbourne, Australia 27 Nov - 01 Dec 2023 Australia.
Paper/Presentation Title

‘It’s alright. My mum will fix it.’: Using the experiences of dyslexic children and their parents to draw a distinction between advocacy and allyship

Presentation TypePresentation
AuthorsLeslie, Rachel
Number of Pages1
Year2023
Place of PublicationAustralia
Web Address (URL) of Paperhttps://www.xcdsystem.com/aare/program/PJRPyvc/index.cfm?pgid=2998
Web Address (URL) of Conference Proceedingshttps://www.aareconference.com.au/program-3/
Conference/EventAustralian Association for Research in Education (AARE) 2023 Annual Conference
Event Details
Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) 2023 Annual Conference
Parent
Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE)
Delivery
In person
Event Date
27 Nov 2023 to end of 01 Dec 2023
Event Location
Melbourne, Australia
Event Venue
Melbourne University
Abstract

Understanding how and why parents support their disabled child in their educational setting is necessary in order to ensure positive educational outcomes for those children and harmonious parent-school partnerships between the parents and teachers. Central to understanding the role of parents in this scenario is recognising the dynamic between the parents, who inhabit the dominant social group of adulthood, and their children, who hold membership in the subordinate social group of disability. Parents who act alongside their child to support their access and engagement in the education setting do so by using their privileged social position while their actions occur due to, and proximal to the child’s disability identity.

Currently the literature refers to the actions parents take to support their child as advocacy. This term does not recognise the inherent power differential between the dominant and marginalised social groups, when those who do not hold membership in the marginalised group, and inhabit the dominant social group, seek to help those with a disability identity. The term advocacy is of concern because it does not reflect the depth and complexity of disability experience and has the potential to further privilege dominant voices, rather than emphasising the right and need for those in marginalised groups to speak for themselves. This paper draws on the fields of race, gender and sexuality, and builds on current understandings of disability experience by reconceiving the role parents take as allyship. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 10 parent-child dyads to deepen the understanding of the allyship experiences of mothers of primary-aged dyslexic children within the primary school context in Australia.

Extending on ecological models of interactions and understandings of subjective experience, the presentation highlights how the proximity of the parental experience to the child’s dyslexic identity, and parental position within social privilege, leads to parental allyship. This paper contributes insight into the allyship activities undertaken by parents of dyslexic children in Australia, which includes a conceptual lens for viewing these activities as a form of allyship, rather than traditional understandings of advocacy. Findings highlight the need for greater recognition and understanding of the extensive responsibilities assumed by parents of dyslexic children and the ways in which their allyship roles within school settings can impact them. The use of the term allyship may enable a clearer and more comprehensive understanding of parental experience to inform future policy and practice.

KeywordsAllyship, Advocacy, Dyslexia,
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020399999. Other education not elsewhere classified
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Byline AffiliationsUniversity of Southern Queensland
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