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This is my truth, tell me yours: exploring the internal tensions within collaborative 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.


the six o’clock news
this is thi
six a clock
news thi
man said n
thi reason
a talk wia
BBC accent
iz coz yi
widny wahnt
mi ti talk
aboot thi
trooth wia
voice lik
wanna yoo
scruff. if
a toktaboot
thi trooth
lik wanna yoo
scruff yi
widny thingk
it wuz troo.
jist wonna yoo
scruff tokn.
thirza right
way ti spell
ana right way
ti tok it. this
is me tokn yir
right way a
spellin. this
is ma trooth
yooz doant no
thi trooth
yirsellz cawz
yi canny talk
right. this is
the six a clock
nyooz. belt up.

Tom Leonard (1984)