Independence, participation, and the meaning of intellectual ability

S. Rubin, D. Biklen, C. Kasa-Hendrickson, P. Kluth, D. N. Cardinal, A. Broderick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


This article presents a non-speaking person's perspectives on independence and the implications of newfound communication abilities for her participation in the world and upon the meaning of intellectual ability. The person with the communication disability also has autism and, early in her life, was classified by school officials as 'severely retarded'. The narrative focuses especially on the concepts of independence, participation, and intellectual competence or intellectual performance, and their relationship to the concepts of democracy, freedom, and identity, all from a non-essentialist perspective. In addition, the article addresses practical questions about how, from her perspective, the non-speaking person developed the ability to communicate without physical support.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)415-429
Number of pages15
JournalDisability and Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001


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