Meaning of a Disability

Meaning of a Disability

Robillard, Albert. Meaning of a Disability : the Lived Experience of Paralysis / A. B. Robillard. - Philadelphia : Temple University Press, 1999. - xvi, 191 p. - ISBN 1-56639-676-X.

"Meaning of a Disability" is a detailed autobiography of the experiences and trained observations of a university professor who became paralyzed in mid-life. When ethnomethodologist Albert Robillard began to suffer the symptoms of motor-neuron disease, he realized he was a living laboratory for revealing the countless, taken-for-granted methods people use to weave their lives together. With his communication restricted by loss of speech and paralysis, Robillard experienced the frustration of making his meanings known. Hospital nurses wrongly anticipated his words. Those who translated for him inevitably distorted his meaning. Most of all, the casual pace of give-and-take conversation was disrupted. Feeling isolated, Robillard threw himself into his academic work and began to develop methods to more satisfactorily interact with others. In this book, he joins his years of sociological training and his time with illness, moving gracefully from narratives about disability to more personal reflections on anger and isolation. "Meaning of a Disability" is the touching personal story of a highly trained observer forced to confront the limits of the disabled person’s social world and the unspoken assumptions about meaningful interaction - as he struggles with the day to day challenges of maintaining his identity.

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