Mediating community participation: practice of support workers in initiating, facilitating or disrupting encounters between people with and without intellectual disability Academic Article uri icon


  • Promoting community participation for people with intellectual disability through encounter with strangers is an integral part of the mission of disability support workers. This paper offers detailed micro-level analysis of the practices of support workers when they accompany a person with intellectual disability outside their home and explores the subtle differences which make some staff practices more effective than others in promoting more convivial encounters with strangers. Based on 160 h of observations of twenty-six adults with intellectual disability in a variety of public places, and interviews and focus groups with their support workers, the paper points to some of the critical judgements support workers need to make when considering whether, when and how to initiate or intervene in such encounters.

publication date

  • July 2015