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On Not Being Noticed: Intellectual Disabilities and the Nonvocal Register.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


<mark>Journal publication date</mark>08/2007
<mark>Journal</mark>Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
Number of pages19
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Gestures unaccompanied by sound risk not being registered by their intended recipient. We chart examples of this in a video recording of a meeting between people with intellectual disabilities and support staff. The recordings reveal that individuals with limited spoken language can, and do, design nonvocal gestures to make intelligible contributions to the conversation; but they are often unseen. Were such contributions to be noticed, they would reveal a variety of contributions to the interaction, notably residents' concerns to display their understanding of the current topic and its interactional requirements. We consider how such unratified contributions may arise out of a dilemma faced by staff and manifest a diminished identity that staff members (and researchers) unwittingly impose on residents.