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Title: Living with dementia : how do literacy practices change over a lifetime?
Author: Weatherall, Sharon
ISNI:       0000 0004 6495 4145
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2017
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People who have been diagnosed with dementia typically experience a progressive deterioration in cognitive function, memory, comprehension and language abilities. There is a substantial and established field of medical research which focuses on the language disorders associated with various types of dementia (Coltheart et al., 2010; Forbes et al., 2004; Glosser et al., 2002; Lambert et al., 2007; Rousseaux et al., 2010). However, this field of research tends to focus on language and literacy loss and deficits, and give little consideration to how people with dementia socially interact and the sociocultural contexts of their lives. This research project draws on perspectives from the New Literacy Studies that literacy is socially embedded in the practices of people’s everyday lives and understanding of knowledge and identity (Street, 2001), and explores how people with early stage dementia engage in everyday literacy practices (Barton & Hamilton, 1998, 2012). Using a life history approach, this study focuses on two older people in the United Kingdom who have been diagnosed with early stage dementia. Data was collected using a series of semi-structured interviews with the research participants with dementia, along with members of their families who have an integral role in their day to day lives. The interviews have produced autobiographical accounts which review engagement in a range of literacy practices throughout their lives and also explores more recent changes to engagement in literacy practices since dementia has become part of their lives. The personal narratives have also provided a way for dementia to be explored using a social lens which contextualises the lived experience of dementia for families; provides a way for self-identities to be preserved and gives a voice to people with dementia who can often feel they are “silenced” (Ward, Campbell & Keady, 2014, p.64); have an “excluded voice” (Wilkinson, 2002, p.9); or they are “invisible” (MacRae, 2011, p.446).
Supervisor: Pahl, Kate Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available