• Authority;
  • authorship;
  • collaboration;
  • language;
  • learning disability;
  • research

Accessible summary

  • • 
    People labelled with learning disability are now more involved in research that is about them and their lives.
  • • 
    When research about the lives of people labelled with learning disability gets published in journals the accounts are written by professionals or academics.
  • • 
    Working and writing together is a good idea but we all need to decide on who is in control.
  • • 
    Being in control of language often means being in control.


Collaboration within the research and publishing process provides opportunities for shared learning and increased knowledge production and dissemination. It can also provide opportunities for conflict if the contributors are divided over issues of authority and authorship. While this situation can be managed, the potential for misunderstanding to arise is heightened when the combination of academics/professionals and individuals labelled with learning disability work together. The scenario described here outlines some of the difficulties that can threaten successful collaboration. Possible remedies are suggested.


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