‘It’s my life’: Autonomy and people with intellectual disabilities

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This article discusses autonomy in the lives of adults with intellectual disabilities. The article draws on inclusive research in Iceland with 25 women and 16 men and employs ideas of relational autonomy from the perspectives of the Nordic relational approach to disability. In this article, we examine autonomy in relation to private life, that is, homes and daily activities. The article demonstrates how practices have improved with time and seem less paternalistic. However, the article also demonstrates that the assistance people with intellectual disabilities receive in their homes often has institutional qualities, and they are often met with belittling perspectives from staff and family members. Furthermore, many did not have access to important information needed to develop individual autonomy and independence, including making their own choices. The research findings suggest that people with intellectual disabilities can with appropriate support develop individual autonomy and make their own choices.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-21
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Intellectual Disabilities
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© the author(s) 2014.

Other keywords

  • Autonomy
  • People with intellectual disabilities
  • Private life


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