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Asymmetries of power and competence and implications for AAC: interaction between adults with severe learning disabilities and their care staff.

Brewster, Stephanie Joyce (2007)
Ed.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

This study investigates the interaction between adults with learning disabilities and their care staff. Many people with severe learning disabilities have little or no speech; for these individuals, augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) may enhance their communication. However, AAC non-use is a widely reported phenomenon. The study explores power and communicative competence within such interaction, as possible factors in AAC non-use. An ethnographic approach was adopted; data collection was carried out in five community homes, focusing on four residents. Field notes were accompanied by video and audio recordings of natural interaction between participants. Aspects of Critical Discourse Analysis were applied to the data within the themes of turn taking, topic control, exclusion from conversation, activity exchanges, test questions and politeness; the theme of AAC was also critically scrutinized. Findings regarding interaction between residents and staff were set in the context of the institution and of wider society. Substantial asymmetries in both communicative competence and power were evident. Staff tended to constrain interaction such that immediate participation of residents was facilitated; however, in the longer term, AAC use is likely to be thereby inhibited. Further application of critical approaches to AAC research is warranted.

Type of Work:Ed.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Miller, Carol and Robertson, Christopher
School/Faculty:Schools (1998 to 2008) > School of Education
Department:Education
Additional Information:

APPENDIX 3: INFORMATION SHEET FOR RESIDENTS is not available in this web version

Subjects:LC Special aspects of education
P Philology. Linguistics
Institution:University of Birmingham
Library Catalogue:Check for printed version of this thesis
ID Code:63
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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