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Title: Asymmetries of power and competence and implications for AAC : interaction between adults with severe learning disabilities and their care staff
Author: Brewster, Stephanie Joyce
ISNI:       0000 0001 3479 2745
Awarding Body: University of Birmingham
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 2007
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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.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: LC Special aspects of education ; P Philology. Linguistics