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Using experience sampling methods to understand everyday experiences of adults with intellectual disability

Disability Intellectual disability Australia


People with intellectual disability (ID) are often excluded from social participation and can often have strictly controlled social or leisure activities. However, the experiences of people with ID are often understood by proxy, usually from the point of view of their parents and/carers. This can exclude the person’s own perception about their experiences and own preferences for social participation. The process of making informed decisions and exercising personal choice relies upon the ability of the person with ID to accurately express their feelings and perceptions. Overcoming these barriers and finding ways to help people with ID self-report their experiences was the focus of this study. The team worked to examine the feasibility of using a method called Experience Sampling Method (ESM) to better assist people with ID to have their say. ESM uses electronic mobile devices, such as smart phones, to prompt users to respond to survey questions throughout the day, for several days. This means information can be collected in day-to-day settings and include both content and context of someone’s experiences "in the moment". If suitable, this method could assist with better understanding social experiences, as well as many other experiences of people with I.D.

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