oa African Journal of Disability - On the unethicality of disablism : excluding intellectually impaired individuals from participating in research can be unethical : opinion papers

Volume 1, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 2223-9170
  • E-ISSN: 2226-7220



As co-constructors of studies that may affect them directly, adults living with intellectual impairment need not be excluded as core searchers. Assuming that these adults do not have capacity to consent as participants in research due to impaired cognitive functioning presumes incapacity (Dye, Hendy, Hare, & Burton 2004). Exclusion on the basis of impairment could be seen as discriminating and a contravention of a non-derogable human right ( [RSA], ). This could also be construed as unethical since such omissions may hinder rather than enable developments to improve health and services for intellectually impaired persons. As does any South African, intellectually impaired citizens have the right to benefit from scientific progress, and even more so if they can contribute as experts to such progress (London, Kagee, Moodley, & Swartz 2011). By virtue of their expertise on disability matters, their voice may stand in public and scientific service.

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