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Everyday travel for families with children using wheelchairs: parents’ perceptions of constraints and adaptation strategies
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Geography and Economic History.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4642-2711
2019 (English)In: Children's Geographies, ISSN 1473-3285, E-ISSN 1473-3277, Vol. 17, no 4, p. 388-400Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

There is a norm assuming high mobility in the Western world today, which can increase the social and geographical exclusion of those who have limited possibilities to travel, such as people with disabilities. When it is a child who has the disability, travel-related constraints are likely to affect the whole family’s travel patterns. This study explores travel constraints among Swedish families with children with cerebral palsy who use wheelchairs. A time-geographical framework is employed. Interviews with parents show that these families’ everyday mobility is affected by authority, capacity and coupling constraints, and that it is often a combination of these constraints that makes travelling difficult. The families use different strategies to negotiate these constraints. In addition to strategies controlled by the families, the findings suggest that there is also a need for governmental support and a barrier-free transport system to enhance their mobility.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 17, no 4, p. 388-400
Keywords [en]
children's mobility, disability, travel constraints, timegeography, family, accessibility
National Category
Human Geography
Research subject
Social and Economic Geography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-152104DOI: 10.1080/14733285.2018.1528342ISI: 000476925100002Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85053887949Local ID: 881251OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-152104DiVA, id: diva2:1251352
Available from: 2018-09-27 Created: 2018-09-27 Last updated: 2023-11-10Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Family, disability and (im)mobility: geographies of families with wheelchair-using children with cerebral palsy
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Family, disability and (im)mobility: geographies of families with wheelchair-using children with cerebral palsy
2023 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Familj, funktionsvariation och (im)mobilitet : att resa med rullstolsburna barn med cerebral pares
Abstract [en]

Mobility is important in shaping people’s lives and experiences through places visited and social interactions with other people. In families with children, mobilities are usually complex and include negotiations between various family members, affecting how they move about in time-space. While children in general often are dependent on parental support in relation to transport, children with disabilities tend to be even more reliant on their parents, not least because they are highly car dependent due to social and environmental barriers associated with other transport modes. This implies that not only disabled children, but also other family members, could be affected by disability related mobility constraints. 

This thesis focuses especially on mobilities of Swedish families with wheelchair-using children with cerebral palsy. Based on interviews, time-use diaries and a survey, I explore how disabling barriers affect families’ daily and tourism mobilities. I use a time-geographical framework, especially focusing on projects and constraints. 

My findings show that these families experience many constraints on mobilities and numerous negotiations and adaptations need to be done to enable mobility for all family members. Oftentimes, it is the disabled child’s mobility that is prioritised, which in everyday life often is related to an increased number of trips (e.g. appointments with physiotherapists, doctors and other authorities involved in healthcare) as well as longer distances travelled to reach accessible (pre)schools and leisure activities. Parents are often accompanying their children, which limits the time available for the parents’ own mobilities, impinges on their geographical reach and affect their possibilities on the labour market. A solution to improve opportunities for (independent) daily mobility for all family members is to have personal assistance in combination with special transport services for the disabled child, which are part of the Swedish support system. 

For tourism mobility, families often travel together and disabling barriers affect how and where they can travel. My findings show that these families have a limited set of tourism destinations that they can travel to. Disabling barriers on tourism mobility can be negotiated by leaving the disabled child at home or going on separate trips. This opens up mobility opportunities for the non-disabled family members, but can put further limitations on the mobility of the disabled child.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå University, 2023. p. 211
Series
GERUM, ISSN 1402-5205 ; 2023:1
Keywords
family, disability, mobility, time geography
National Category
Human Geography
Research subject
Social and Economic Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-208138 (URN)978-91-8070-083-2 (ISBN)978-91-8070-084-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2023-06-09, UB.A.240, Samhällsvetarhuset, Umeå, 13:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2023-05-17 Created: 2023-05-10 Last updated: 2023-11-10Bibliographically approved

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Landby, Emma

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Citation style
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