Offering choices to people with intellectual disabilities:an interactional study

Antaki, Charles and Finlay, W.M.L. and Walton, Chris and Pate, Louise (2008) Offering choices to people with intellectual disabilities:an interactional study. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 52 (12). pp. 1165-1175. ISSN 0964-2633

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Background At the level of policy recommendation, it is agreed that people with intellectual impairments ought to be given opportunities to make choices in their lives; indeed, in the UK, the Mental Capacity Act of 2005 enshrines such a right in law. However, at the level of practice, there is a dearth of evidence as to how choices are actually offered in everyday situations, which must hinder recommendations to change. Method This qualitative interactional study, based on video recordings in British residential homes, combines ethnography with the fine-grained methods of Conversation Analysis. Results We identify six conversational practices that staff use to offer choices to residents with intellectual disabilities. Conclusions We describe the unwanted consequences of some of these practices, and how the institutional imperative to solicit clear and decisive choice may sometimes succeed only in producing the opposite.

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Journal Article
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Journal of Intellectual Disability Research
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19 Sep 2012 09:20
Last Modified:
21 Nov 2022 22:52