Life Stories of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities in Mandya District of India
Keywords: Community-based Rehabilitation, Participatory Research, Intellectual disabilities
AbstractIntroduction: This paper is about sharing of life stories of persons with intellectual disabilities as part of an impact assessment of a community-based rehabilitation (CBR) project in a district in India. Objective: To facilitate persons with intellectual disabilities to look critically at their own lives, to identify the barriers they face and the strategies they adopt to overcome them, including the role played by CBR in this process. Methodology: An emancipatory research approach was adopted. A residential meeting of 23 persons with intellectual disabilities was organised. A group of persons with disabilities from the local community who were trained to be researchers, facilitated this meeting. The meeting participants shared their life stories and then with the help of researchers together analysed those stories, identified barriers and discussed the strategies for overcoming barriers. Results: The research showed that the persons with intellectual disabilities in a rural area faced diverse barriers, especially attitudinal barriers, which affected different aspects of their lives. Families and local communities played a key role, both in creating the barriers as well as, in overcoming them. While CBR programme played a supporting role, institutional referral support services were very difficult to access for this group of persons. Conclusions: Emancipatory research approach through sharing of life stories can be useful among persons with intellectual disabilities. It can provide details about the challenges facing these persons and their families and promote local action to mitigate those challenges.
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