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Title: A qualitative study of the self-advocacy movement for people with the label 'intellectual disability' in Malta
Author: Callus, Anne-Marie
ISNI:       0000 0004 2716 8161
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2011
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The history of self-advocacy of people with intellectual disability in Malta is quite recent, with the first formal initiative being taken in 2003, by the National Commission Persons with Disability (KNPD). This thesis investigates the development of these initiatives within the Maltese context. It takes a social constructionist approach in order to investigate how the label 'intellectual disability' is understood by people with intellectual disability and by those who play key roles in their lives; to explore the principal forces that impinge on the lives of people with intellectual disability in Malta; and to reflect upon the key aims and objectives of the self-advocacy movement in Malta. The research plan involved monthly meetings, over a two-year period, of the KNPD Consultative Committee of People with Intellectual Disability (KCC), of which I am a support member; individual interviews with the twelve KCC members; and interviews with the representatives of nineteen organisations working with people with intellectual disability in Malta. Through the analysis of the discourse and data generated through the research, it is shown that while the respondents attend to the factors that socially construct the label 'intellectual disability', there is rarely a clear-cut distinction between, on the one hand, an understanding of the label based on the social model and, on the other, an understanding that is grounded in notions of individual impairment and deficit. Consequently, obstacles that people with intellectual disability encounter which are of social origin are not always explicitly acknowledged, especially the power imbalance between people with intellectual disability and the non-disabled people who play important roles in their lives. From the research conducted, which the thesis refers back to the literature in the field, it emerges that self-advocacy can provide an environment in which this power imbalance can be redressed and negative perceptions of the label 'intellectual disability' challenged. Self-advocacy, the thesis contends, allows people with intellectual disability to become more active agents in their own lives and make their voices heard. And it enables non-disabled people to listen to those voices and to create contexts in which these voices are heard and valued, and then take them fully into account when working with people with intellectual disability.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available