Critical health literacy health promotion and people with intellectual disabilities

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13 Citations (Scopus)


Health literacy research and scholarship has largely overlooked the experiences of people with intellectual disabilities (ID), though growing concern about the health inequalities they face has increasingly given rise to health promotion interventions for this group. However, these interventions reference a rather limited vision of health literacy and largely fail to offer people with ID opportunities to develop capabilities to interact with health information in a more critical manner or to develop their understandings of how the wider social context impacts on their own experiences of health and health care. In this paper I offer some explanations for why people with ID have been excluded from the critical health literacy field. I suggest ways that a critical health literacy frame can advance understandings of (1) what literacy in general means for people with ID; (2) what it means for them to take part in critical health literacy practices, and (3) the nature of health texts – what they are and what they do for people with ID. I conclude with remarks about what involvement in critical health literacy initiatives might offer people with ID and also what a consideration of the experiences of people with ID can offer critical health literacy theorizing and research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-265
Number of pages17
JournalAsia-Pacific Journal of Health, Sport and Physical Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Critical literacy
  • Health literacy
  • Health promotion
  • Intellectual disabilities


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