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Response to Articles on Self-Determination

Written Material

In this response to an invitation to comment on articles on self-determination, Michael Kennedy speaks from the perspective of someone who lived in institutions for 18 years with people with severe disability who could not talk. Kennedy believes that people with severe disability can be self-determining, and illustrates this from experience. Kennedy reveals the importance of taking notice of individuals' body language and behaviour to discover what individuals do and do not want, as well as their likes and dislikes. It is clear from this response that those supporting people with severe disability need to spend time understanding what the individual is seeking to communicate. In addition, for people with disability to exercise their rights, they need to be offered not only the opportunity for choice, but support to make good informed choices. (Michael Kennedy works at the Center on Human Policy, Syracuse University.) Keyword: Self Determination

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Kennedy, M
JASH, Vol. 21, No. 1
Publication Date
1 April 1998
Person with disability
Self Determination
United States

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