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Offering choices to people with intellectual disabilities: an interactional study

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date08/2008
JournalJournal of Intellectual Disability Research
Journal number12
Volume52
Number of pages11
Pages1165-1175
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

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.