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A Textured Life

Empowerment and Adults with Developmental Disabilities

Alison Pedlar, Larry Haworth, Peggy Hutchison, Andrew Taylor, and Peter Dunn

Paper 176 pp.

ISBN13: 978-0-88920-335-8

Release Date: April 1999

Online discount: 25%

$38.99  $29.24


Thirty years ago, spending one’s life in a large institution was, for most adults with developmental disabilities, the norm. Three decades later, theirs is a very different world. Deinstitutionalization has been heralded as bringing about a return to a life of “community.” To support adults with developmental disabilities so that they might live in our communities, new social policies have been adopted. As a result, these individuals, those who were released from large institutions to return to the community and those who have never experienced life in a large institution, are confronted with a new reality. This book explores that new reality, focusing on the adults themselves and their experiences.

The authors conducted one of the most extensive surveys of Canadian support services available for adults with developmental disabilities. Every province and territory contributed information on the services they offer, including how they are funded. After this initial survey, the authors visited five different regions of Canada where they conducted 141 in-depth interviews with the targeted adults, their families and support staff.

The testimony of these men and women endorses a social ecological theory of empowerment-in-community, central to which is the normative idea of a textured life. By opening our communities to adults with developmental disabilities, we will enable them to transcend the “world of disability” and enhance the texture of their lives.

Augmented by a concluding discussion on the implications of this study for social policy and social support, this new book will benefit all those concerned with helping individuals establish those textured lives.

Alison Pedlar is an associate professor in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies at the University of Waterloo. She has conducted extensive research on persons with disabilities, support services, quality of life and community.


A Textured a well-researched Canadian survey and assessment that contains interviews with the adults themselves, their families and support staff. Essential reading for those whose life and work include adults with developmental disabilities.”

— Janet Silman, The United Church Observer