Adults with intellectual disabilities’ lived experience of well-being and the internet: A descriptive Phenomenological study

Gillian Hebblewhite, Kathleen T Galvin, Nick Hutchinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

While internet use continues to increase amongst the general population, in comparison, adults with intellectual disabilities are still less likely to access the Internet and benefit from the opportunities it can offer. Non-intellectual disability perspectives and assumptions, which often view the Internet as a risk for those with intellectual disabilities, are considered over the everyday lived online and well-being experiences of adults with intellectual disabilities. In response, this study interviewed 8 participants with intellectual disabilities using a descriptive phenomenological approach. Seven constituents emerged: internet as a mirror; internet enables visibility and invisibility; internet as liberating; internet meets unmet needs; internet creates an active decision maker and expert; internet as friend and foe; and, the body connects to, and disconnects from, the Internet. The findings gave rise to new perspectives, recommendations, and adds to the existing literature on how to support adults with intellectual disabilities’ enjoyable, safe and independent internet use.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDisability & society
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Oct 2020

Keywords

  • Intellectual disabilities
  • learning disabilities
  • well-being
  • internet
  • descriptive phenomenology
  • online gaming

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