A supplement to the body of existing knowledge
The current academic knowledge about people with such disabilities is primarily quantitative. Little research has been done into their experiences, or those of support professionals , family members, and other people involved.
We want to find new answers to the meaning of challenging behaviour and what good care provision entails. Our aim is to equip all those involved in this quest so that they feel supported and able to think and act in new ways.
People with such disabilities are dependent on others, who 'read' them, attune to them, and interpret what they say. This interpretation is often difficult, especially when they cannot speak, and it is often necessary to work with other professionals and relatives to gain more insight into what they mean. These stakeholders must recognise that their knowledge and experiences are formed in a certain context of care, and within a familiar environment, so they are seeing only a part of the story.
From this starting point, we at WAVE deploy 'outsider researchers', with no experience of professional care, but with a special career or personal background that has strongly influenced their standing in life and how they relate to others.
Outsider researchers look at the context of care through different eyes, and do not take for granted things that seem implicitly clear to care professionals. As a result, they can challenge them to think and talk about practices, routines, and assumptions in an entirely different way.