An exploration of the use of infant observation methods to research the identities of severely learning disabled adolescents and to enhance relationship-based practice for professional social work practice

Hingley-Jones, Helen (2011) An exploration of the use of infant observation methods to research the identities of severely learning disabled adolescents and to enhance relationship-based practice for professional social work practice. Infant Observation, 14 (3). pp. 317-333. ISSN 1369-8036

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Abstract

This paper considers how infant observation methods may be adapted to explore and research the identities of severely learning disabled adolescents, a group of young people whose experiences are poorly represented in the literature. Through focusing on emotion and relationship, this ‘practice-near’ research method also offers a way for social workers to develop their reflective capacity in relation to the often hidden, uncomfortable emotions aroused by experiencing impairment and difference, but without the defences usually involved in assuming the professional role. The importance of taking time to get on a disabled child’s ‘wavelength’ is illustrated through extracts from the research which show how a young person’s agency and identity can be appreciated. The method also has the potential to develop social workers’ awareness of the powerful undercurrent of emotions apparent at times within families of severely disabled young people and tentative suggestions are made about the projective processes and hidden hostilities at work within one of the families observed as part of the research project. Professionals may be able to use this knowledge to become resilient and reflective practitioners and the observation method itself has something to offer by way of a containing experience for families.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Health and Education
Item ID: 15301
Notes on copyright: This copy is a pre-publication version of the article. This is a RoMEO green journal - author can archive post-print (ie final draft post-refereeing)
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Helen Hingley-Jones
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2015 13:18
Last Modified: 01 Jun 2019 19:30
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/15301

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