Narrativising envisioned futures by adolescents with significant intellectual disabilities

Kagendo Mutua, Elizabeth Swadener

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This study sought to understand what the narratives of young people with severe intellectual disabilities revealed about their envisioned future, articulated as desired post-school outcomes. Drawing upon a case study involving in-depth interviews of families and adolescents with intellectual disability attending secondary school in the southern region of the United States, this article highlights ways in which adolescents with intellectual disability are disrupting and subverting master discourses of normalcy that limit their lives by re-articulating their gendered and sexual selves, thereby moving transition research into the little-researched realm of qualitative adult outcomes. This article raises a number of critical questions about the social construction of “disabled adolescence” utilising a disability studies perspective and emphasising nuanced ways of understanding youth voice. The article explores the social construction of gender and sexuality from the standpoint of adolescents with intellectual disability and addresses some of the complexities of “voice” when doing research with young people with severe intellectual disabilities and the contradictions of parents’ roles in the process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-219
Number of pages19
JournalChild Care in Practice
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Education
  • Community and Home Care
  • Pediatrics
  • Health(social science)


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