I’m writing a paper about some of the challenges intrinsic to the life story work I do with people with learning disabilities:
‘That’s a butterfly net and some very long legs. They are my long legs. My Dad had long legs. Daddy long legs’
Digital media as a tool for capturing and sharing the life stories of learning disabled adults.
People with learning disabilities are particularly vulnerable to having their life stories hijacked. By acknowledging the inequality of the interviewer-interviewee relationship and deliberately stepping into a position ‘alongside’ the narrator it is possible to reduce both the power and bias of the interviewer.
Sensitively tuning in to individual communication styles, developing a culture of openness and trust and adjusting to the narrator’s pace of cognitive reasoning can create the foundations necessary to allow individual stories to be told and celebrated.
The accessibility, cost and ease of use of digital media facilitates this process. Drawing on my experience, together with related research and inspired by the development of digital storytelling techniques, I will outline the methods I have developed, in both individual and group work, to address the many challenges of recording the authentic voice of learning disabled adults.