Can someone be who they are not? : transition paths to the adult life of individuals classified in the intellectual disability category (title translated from portuguese)
Doctoral Thesys, Institute of Education, University of Lisbon
This research seeks to deepen the knowledge about Portuguese young adults with a multitude of classification experiences in an invisible and stigmatized category. Falling under an age bracket between twenty-four and forty-one, none of them was born with a known disability condition, though they ended up being classified under the Intellectual Disability category, in most cases because they were unable to respond satisfactorily to the challenges of the Portuguese National Curriculum for primary education. The main goal of this research is to understand the ways of transition to adult life from a group of twenty people. Grounded in the social disability model, this study holds on the conception of disability as a product of the interaction of people and their environment. With the “life course” framework that states the impossibility of splitting life disability experience from the political and historical environment (Priestley, 2001), seeks, in a permanent dance between macro and micro dimensions, rebuild the biographies and understand the factors which determined the access of adultness. To support the research operationalization six dimensions were identified to explain and understand the transition logics (the classification effect at the identity (re)building, school and formative trajectories, ingress in the work world and professional experience, self-determination, parenthood and socio-affective life. The current study states that all courses of life were deeply conditionate by the categorization but are the environmental factors such as the objective life conditions (Wehmeyer et al., 2003) and the subjects actions, materialized in the ways they intervene and build their biographies, plan and achieve their goals that seem to concur to the distinct ways to adulthood. To facilitate the understanding of the multitude of transition ways to adulthood, five typical models were proposed (suspended transition, imposed transition, progressive transition, conquered transition and foreclosed transition) bringing together, at the same time, the singularities and complexities of the life courses studied.