Rita Marie Valade

Participatory Action Research with Adults with Mental Retardation: “Oh My God! Look Out World!”

by Rita Marie Valade, RSM
Kent School of Social Work, University of Louisville, Kentucky
May, 2004

This dissertation is a participatory action research project with adults with mental retardation who reside in Louisville, Kentucky. It explores some of the history and ideologies that frequently have hindered persons with mental retardation from being regarded by others as unique individuals with various abilities. It investigates dynamics of social ostracism and the resultant silence, inclusive of the social work profession’s relative absence in the field of mental retardation. Furthermore, it explores various aspects of research with persons with disabilities, and with persons with mental retardation in particular. While there have been multiple studies about persons with mental retardation, very few actually include their voices. This dissertation attempts to offer a corrective to this and offers persons with mental retardation a vehicle for their opinions, actions, and voices.