Background Staff can encourage adults with intellectual disabilities to reflect on their experiences in a number of ways. Not all are equally successful interactionally.
Methods Conversation Analysis is used to examine c. 30 h of recordings made at two service-provider agencies.
Results I identify two practices for soliciting reflection: both start with open-ended ‘test’ questions, but they differ on how these are followed up. A more interrogatory practice is to follow up with alternatives and yes/no questions. A more facilitative practice is to give hints and elaborate the replies.
Conclusions I discuss the differences between the two practices in terms of the institutional agendas that guide the staff's interactional routines. With regard to the more successful one, I note the sensitivity of using ‘hints’ when asking about clients' own experiences.