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Life stories of people with intellectual disabilities in modern Australia

journal contribution
posted on 2020-11-17, 22:12 authored by David HendersonDavid Henderson, Christine BigbyChristine Bigby
© 2018 Australasian Society for Intellectual Disability, Inc.

Background: People with intellectual disabilities are one of the most disadvantaged and marginalised groups in contemporary Australian society and until relatively recently, the history of intellectual disability in Australia has been neglected. Methods: Using semi-structured, life story oral history interviews, the life stories of three people with intellectual disabilities were analysed and the importance of intellectual disability in Australia as a subject for further historical analysis highlighted. Results: In this article it has been argued that embedded in the historical detail of these life stories, we can ascertain some of the key structural patterns that have shaped the experiences and forged the identities of people with intellectual disabilities in Australia. Conclusion: By analysing and comparing the narrative structures and dominant themes in life stories of individuals with intellectual disability, this article demonstrates something of the changing and immensely varied experience of people with intellectual disabilities in Australia over the last 50 years.


Australian Research Council | LP 0990259


Publication Date



Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disabilit






10p. (p. 421-430)


Taylor & Francis



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