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Becoming Self-Advocates

People with intellectual Disability seeking a Voice

Anne-Marie Callus

People with intellectual disability cannot assume that they can speak up for and represent themselves. A host of socially constructed factors act as barriers to their becoming self-advocates. This book analyses the nature of these factors and investigates how the label ‘intellectual disability’ is understood and interpreted. It also analyses the power imbalance between people with intellectual disability and non-disabled people, an imbalance which leads to the perpetuation of dependence of the former on the latter. The book proposes self-advocacy as a way of providing an environment in which this power imbalance can be redressed, negative perceptions of the label ‘intellectual disability’ challenged, and independence and autonomy promoted. In this way, contexts can be created in which the voices of people with intellectual disability are heard and valued. Self-advocacy thus enables people with intellectual disability to become more active agents in their own lives with the necessary support.


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Acknowledgements ix Figures and tables xi Transcription notations xiii Abbreviations xv Chapter 1 Labels and definitions 1 Chapter 2 Self-advocacy – Histories and contexts 27 Chapter 3 Living circumscribed lives 63 Chapter 4 Constructing the label intellectual disability 103 Chapter 5 Helping people lead independent lives 137 Chapter 6 Principal forces in the lives of people with intellectual disability 175 viii Chapter 7 Places in self-advocacy 209 Chapter 8 Becoming self-advocates 245 Bibliography 263 Index 293

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