Simulating Others’ Realities: Insiders Reflect on Disability Simulations

in Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly

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Jennifer LeoUniversity of Alberta

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Donna GoodwinUniversity of Alberta

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The purpose of this interpretative phenomenological analysis study was to explore the meaning persons who experience disability ascribed to disability simulations as a pedagogical tool. Reflective writing, one-on-one interviews, and field notes were used to gather information on disability simulation use in a required postsecondary kinesiology course. Seven people who use wheelchairs full time (3 men, 4 women), ranging in age from 28 to 44 yr (average age = 36) shared their perspectives. The thematic analysis revealed 3 themes. The theme “Disability Mentors Required” revealed the participants’ collective questioning of their absence from the design and implementation of disability simulations. “Life Is Not a Simulation” illustrated the juxtaposition of disability reality and disability simulations. “Why Are They Laughing?” contrasted the use of fun as a strategy to engage students against the risk of distracting them from deeper reflection. Through the lens of ableism, the importance of disability representation in the development and implementation of disability simulations was affirmed as a means to deepen pedagogical reflexiveness of their intended use.

Leo and Goodwin are with the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada.

Address author correspondence to Jennifer Leo at jennifer.leo@ualberta.ca
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