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Research Article  |   July 2000
The Discovery of Disability: A Phenomenological Study of Unilateral Neglect
Author Affiliations
  • Kerstin Tham, OT, PhD, is Assistant Professor, Karolinska Institutet, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Occupational Therapy and Elderly Research, Division of Occupational Therapy, Retzius Väg 13, 171 77 Stockholm, Sweden; Kerstin.Tham@neurotec.ki.se
  • Lena Borell, OT, PhD, is Associate Professor and Head, Division of Occupational Therapy, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Occupational Therapy and Elderly Research, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
  • Anders Gustavsson, PhD, is Professor and Head, Center for Disability Studies, Linkoping University, Sweden; and Associate Professor, Department of Education, Stockholm University
Article Information
Rehabilitation, Participation, and Disability / One-Sided Neglect
Research Article   |   July 2000
The Discovery of Disability: A Phenomenological Study of Unilateral Neglect
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July/August 2000, Vol. 54, 398-406. doi:10.5014/ajot.54.4.398
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July/August 2000, Vol. 54, 398-406. doi:10.5014/ajot.54.4.398
Abstract

Objective. Clients with right brain damage and unilateral neglect often lack awareness of their disabilities. This study examined how 4 participants with neglect experienced, discovered, and handled their disabilities in the context of their everyday life.

Method. The 4 participants were interviewed five to seven times during their rehabilitation process. The data were collected and analyzed using the EPP (empirical, phenomenological, psychological) method.

Findings. Findings revealed seven features that described a discovery process for the 4 participants. During this process, each participant began to discover and understand the consequences of her unilateral neglect in the performance of everyday tasks. This increased understanding was a prerequisite to being able to use compensatory strategies.

Conclusion. By experiencing meaningful occupational situations, the participants gradually discovered and began to compensate for their disabilities in everyday life.