‘Wishing to go it alone’: the complicated interplay of independence, interdependence and agency

Christine Ashby, Eunyoung Jung, Casey Woodfield, Katherine Vroman, Fernanda Orsati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Some individuals with disabilities for whom verbal speech is not reliable use facilitated communication to express thoughts and ideas. While they may require intensive physical support initially, the goal is independent typing. However, this emphasis on fading support and independence bears consideration. We utilize a Disability Studies lens to frame practices around independence and the complicated interplay between interdependence, agency and voice. Based on qualitative analysis of communication training sessions, we present four findings: the complexity of the message versus fading of physical support, the emotional dimensions of independence, the facilitator’s navigation of multiple roles, and the importance of facilitating agency. We also share implications of reframing independence and facilitating agency for the communication training process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1474-1489
Number of pages16
JournalDisability and Society
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 26 2015


  • Disability Studies
  • agency
  • autism
  • communication
  • independence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • General Health Professions
  • General Social Sciences


Dive into the research topics of '‘Wishing to go it alone’: the complicated interplay of independence, interdependence and agency'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this