Handbook of Communication and People with Disabilities: Research and Application

By Dawn O. Braithwaite; Teresa L. Thompson | Go to book overview
relational partners. Researchers can raise many questions; for example, would people who are disabled have a better chance of success in intimate relationships if they choose partners who are also disabled? It is not known how long-term relational partners who are disabled manage these dialectical tensions, and research is needed. As stated at the outset of this chapter, researchers do need to study the strengths as well as the challenges people with disabilities face in their close relationships.Although there are few easy answers or prescriptions, understanding how relational dialectics play out in developing and ongoing personal relationships, and especially regarding those issues unique to the relationships of people who are disabled, will help both disabled and nondisabled individuals manage the social as well as the physical changes and challenges associated with physical disability.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
What view does early research literature present of the communication of people with disabilities and of their ability to form and maintain personal relationships? How does this compare with your own experiences of observing how people with disabilities and ablebodied others communicate with one another?
What challenges do people who are disabled and their relational partners have in managing issues of both connection and autonomy?
What challenges do people who are disabled and their relational partners have in managing issues of both openness and closedness?
What challenges do people who are disabled and their relational partners have in managing issues of both predictability and novelty?
What concerns would you have about your relationship, if your closest friend or relationship partner became disabled? What relationship remodeling would you have to do to maintain your relationship?

REFERENCES

Albrecht T. L., & Adelman M. B. (Eds.). ( 1987). Communicating social support. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Asch A., & Fine M. ( 1988). Introduction: Beyond pedestals. In M. Fine & A. Asch (Eds.), Women with disabilities: Essays in psychology, culture, and politics (pp. 1-37). Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

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