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Debates about dedifferentiation: twenty-first century thinking about people with intellectual disabilities as distinct members of the disability group

Bigby, C., Clegg, J.,

Academic Literature

2017

Dedifferentiation describes a shift away from regarding cognitive impairments as the origin of difficulties experienced by people with intellectual disabilities and, instead, regarding their difficulties as socially produced and common to all people with disabilities. This article reviews research evidence concerning the advantages and disadvantages of dedifferentiated policy and service systems for people with intellectual disabilities, the bulk of which addresses education and health service systems. The article makes the case for treating people with intellectual disabilities as members of the broad disability group wherever possible, and for protecting and developing differentiated opportunities, services and research whenever necessary. This requires policymakers and practitioners to balance conflicting ideas more effectively, but it also requires reflection and debate that allow new conceptual tools to emerge.

Publication information

Journal/Publication : Research and Practice in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Location : Australasia

Domain/s: Community and civic participation, Sector development and sustainability

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