University of Hertfordshire

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Original languageEnglish
Number of pages21
Pages (from-to)303-323
JournalSociological Review
Journal publication date1 May 2011
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2011


In contrast to other forms of family caregiving, becoming the parent or carer of a child with an intellectual disability (ID) implies an ongoing responsibility beyond the attainment of chronological adulthood (Meyers, 1985; Todd and Shearn, 1996). At the same time, a discourse of self-determination pervades policy around transition to adult services in ID in England (, 2001). In this paper we present a subset of data from a project which aimed to examine how the process of transition from child to adult services in ID is managed. Using data from 8 tape-recorded meetings in which transitions were planned and discussed, we examine what happens when the views of the parent/carer and the young adult are in apparent conflict. Drawing on the growing body of interactional work in the field (eg Rapley, 2004; Finlay, Antaki and Walton, 2008), we use conversation analysis to examine how professionals manage and negotiate this conflict and how some points of view or courses of action ultimately prevail over others. While the discourse of self-determination may prevail in English policy terms, we show how the fact that parents or carers ultimately have a key role in enabling the choices of the young person has a significant impact on these interactions.


© 2011 The Authors.The Sociological Review © 2011 The Editorial Board of The Sociological Review. Published by Blackwell Publishing Inc.,

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