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Publication - Dr Joe Webb

    Managing relational autonomy in interactions

    People with intellectual disabilities


    Dowling, S, Williams, V, Webb, J, Gall, M & Worrall, D, 2019, ‘Managing relational autonomy in interactions: People with intellectual disabilities’. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, vol 32., pp. 1058-1066



    This article is about interactions that occur when someone with intellectual disabilities is engaged in everyday activities with a personal assistant (PA) or a support worker. 


    We examine the detail of nine hours of naturally occurring video-recorded interactions, to explore how "relational autonomy" is done in practice. Nine people with ID and seven staff took part in the research, which took place in England from 2016-17. 


    We selected six extracts to illustrate different types of joint decision-making. Informed by inclusive research with a drama group of people with intellectual disabilities, we focus on the ways in which (a) future plans are discussed; (b) choices are offered during an activity; (c) people reflect on their decisions. 


    The article concludes with discussion about the teaching and learning content of choice-making, on relational autonomy, and the practice learning for PAs, support workers and for people with intellectual disabilities.

    Full details in the University publications repository