Raising a Child within Early Childhood Dis-ability Support Systems Shakonehya:ra's ne shakoyen'okon:'a G’chi-gshkewesiwad binoonhyag ᑲᒥᓂᑯᓯᒼ ᑭᑫᑕᓱᐧᐃᓇ ᐊᐧᐊᔕᔥ ᑲᒥᓂᑯᓯᒼ ᑲᐧᐃᔕᑭᑫᑕᑲ: Ga-Miinigoowozid Gikendaagoosowin Awaazigish, Ga-Miinigoowozid Ga-Izhichigetan

Nicole Ineese-Nash, Yvonne Bomberry, Kathryn Underwood, Arlene Hache


The Inclusive Early Childhood Service System Project (IECSS) is a qualitative longitudinal study seeking to explore families’ experiences of accessing services for their children who have disabilities or developmental delays in early childhood. This article specifically examines the experiences of Indigenous participants navigating the multiple support services in their communities, with analytical discussion with community agencies working from an Indigenous framework, as well as the perspectives of the Elders Council of Temiskaming. The project has taken place through local partnerships in five geographic areas in Ontario: The County of Wellington, District of Timiskaming, Constance Lake First Nation, City of Hamilton, and City of Toronto. The study found that Indigenous families were often very engaged in culturally specific services for their children and families, in addition to accessing disability support services operating from a medical framework. The juxtaposition of these two ideologies often led to conflict for Indigenous families as they sought to maintain their cultural understandings of children and their development while seeking supports for their children. These findings suggest that Indigenous concepts of disability and childhood are not integrated in the current disability support system, which operates in a manner that is inconsistent with an Indigenous worldview.

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