This reflexive paper explores the process of engaging ethnically diverse children with disabilities within participatory and narrative research concerning their school life via a multi-method qualitative approach. It contemplates the use of participatory research methods, involving children with disabilities as co-researchers, establishing relaxed research environments, and maintaining qualitative rigour while supporting children’s voice and agency. This paper addresses possibilities of qualitative research to access and amplify voices and differing social experiences of children with disabilities, whilst underscoring their capacity and right to contribute to research regarding their lives. The author advocates re-envisioning ways to conduct ethical research with children with disabilities.


Children with Disabilities, Participatory Research, Qualitative Research, Narrative Research, Voice, Co-Researchers

Author Bio(s)

Amanda Ajodhia-Andrews received her PhD from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education/ University of Toronto. She also holds an Honours BSc (Psychology) from the University of Toronto, and a MA (Early Childhood Studies) from Ryerson University. In the School of Early Childhood Studies at Ryerson University she has taught courses on children with disabilities, inclusive education, and working with ethnically diverse children and families. Her research interests include inclusive education, international perspectives of education, understandings of differences and normativity, child participation in research, and methods of inquiry. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: Amanda Ajodhia-Andrews at, a.ajodhia.andrews@mail.utoronto.ca.


I thank the centre’s director and program instructor, as well as participants’ families for warmly embracing the research. Also, many thanks to Dr. Diane Gérin-Lajoie for her counsel. With sincere appreciation I thank all the children who participated in this study, serving as brilliant co-researchers. This research project received support through an Ontario Graduate Scholarship (Government of Ontario) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (Doctoral Fellowship).

Publication Date


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.




Submission Location


To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.