Debate remains about how to effectively obtain information from adolescents with disabilities in marginalized areas and how to apply this knowledge to shape rehabilitation activities. This study explored how to empower adolescents in the urban slums of North India to assume greater control over their rehabilitation within the context of a local community-based rehabilitation program. Participants included 21 adolescents with and 11 adolescents without disability (aged 12 to 18 years), and 10 community-based rehabilitation workers. A critical ethnographic approach was adopted. Fieldwork was conducted from January to May 2005 and October 2006 to March 2007. This paper focuses on the methodological aspects of this study, and how critical ethnography was used to inform positive changes for adolescents with disabilities using their perspectives.


Critical Ethnography, Methodology, Adolescents, Disability, Community-Based Rehabilitation, Empowerment, Urban Slums, and India


Research Sponsors include: International Development Research Centre (IDRC, Award No. 103342-99906075-022), Doctoral Research Grant; Queen’s University, Dean’s Travel Grant for Doctoral Field Research; and Canadian Occupational Therapy Foundation (COTF), Doctoral Scholarship.

I sincerely thank ASTHA, the Community-Based Rehabilitation Program and all the adolescents and families who openly welcomed me into their lives. Your support was instrumental in carrying out a project of this magnitude. This study made me optimistic about our ability to work together in order

to inform change and empower young people with disabilities. I am grateful for the support I received for this study from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the Canadian Occupational Therapy Foundation (COTF), and Queen’s University.

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