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The need for a multidisciplinary approach in vision rehabilitation; challenges to fuse various research traditions and views of the body

Conference contribution
Authors Inger Berndtsson
Published in Paper presented at IMC International Mobility Conference, July 6–9, Montréal Canada
Publication year 2015
Published at Department of Education and Special Education
Language en
Keywords vision rehabilitation, multidisciplinary
Subject categories Pedagogy


In the field of vision rehabilitation and research there are various perspectives and disciplines presented, from ophthalmology to environmental accessibility. The field of vision rehabilitation and O&M is particularly in need for a variation of research approaches studying the complexity of human life and learning. At the core is an interaction between the human being and the milieu. However, the question to be raised deals with if and how it is possible to combine various research approaches, finding a solid research base for rehabilitation practice. For penetrating this question a theoretical investigation has been performed analysing and taking into account the ontological and epistemological foundations for some research traditions. It shall be stated that there are traditions mostly guided by a view where the individual is primarily considered as an object, often focusing primarily the physical body. Other traditions are based on primarily viewing the mind of the human being, thus often ignoring the body. The contradiction between these traditions or separating the two realms is characterized as dualism: dividing body and mind. A further theoretical base is a perspective where mind and body are seen as intertwined, mutually affecting each other. In rehabilitation work it shall be argued that we require an approach where the human being is seen as an actor, having the possibility to take the challenge to change her or his life situation. Common methodological research traditions are positivism focusing quantitative results, a hermeneutic and phenomenological tradition emphasizing interpretation, and a narrative constructivism tradition building on discourses and analysis of power relations; all these view the body differently. As a conclusion it will be highlighted how these traditions serve the purpose of a theoretical basis for vision rehabilitation, and how theories from respective tradition can be brought together and intermingled in rehabilitation work.

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