Disability support workers’ experience of interaction with a person with profound intellectual disability Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: The primary communication partner for many people with profound intellectual disability (PID) who are living in supported accommodation is their disability support worker (DSW). The experiences of DSWs in interacting with people with PID have received limited attention in the literature. METHOD: The nature of interactions between people with PID and DSWs was explored from the perspective of three DSWs through an analysis of interview data using a phenomenological approach. RESULTS: It was evident from the data that communicating in a way that was perceived to be the preferred style of the person with PID was important to the DSWs. This style, however, was often perceived to be in conflict with their employing organisation's policy and preferred practice. CONCLUSION: The descriptions in this study have implications for the conceptualisation of best practice in interacting with people with PID. Further research on interactions involving behaviours that may be perceived as inconsistent with concepts of age-appropriate interactions and professional boundaries is recommended.

publication date

  • June 2008