ABS088 - Building communicational competence within a cultural-historical environment. An interview study of young non-verbal people and their families

2.3 The social construction of [dis]ability and difference/homogeneity
10:30 AM, Friday 1 Sep 2017 (20 minutes)
The legacy of defectology, Vygotsky’s theoretical work on children with disabilities, still offers a useful approach to disability research. Vygotsky understood disability as an incongruence between the individual’s psychological structure and the structure of cultural forms. The incongruence describes a dialectical relation between the person with a disability and the surrounding society. The aim of this presentation is to explore and elaborate Vygotsky’s concept of incongruence. This will be done through a study of eight young people who, due to congenital motor impairment, have severe difficulties in developing verbal speech. The young people and their parents were interviewed about the life history of the child and the family vis-à-vis becoming able to/making their child able to communicate. Unlike development of verbal speech, the zone of proximal development for children using alternative ways of communicating has to be created and recreated as the children grow. Children and parents' choices of both low-tech and high-tech communicational technologies are guided by the particular verbal and motor abilities of the child, current trends in AAC (Augmented and Alternative Communication) practices, available technologies and the child’s own preferences. Both the children, now young persons, and their parents figure as active agents in the construction of a mode of communication.

Aarhus University