I Am Not the Same Person, Even Though I Am: Managing Communication and Identity in the Aftermath of Physical Disability
The following explores changes that occur in communication following the acquisition of a physical disability. Framed by the symbolic interactionism theoretical tradition, I use ethnography and semi-structured interviews to further understanding of this dynamic communicative environment and its impact. I address the changes that occur after becoming disabled in terms of identity shaping communication, methods used to navigate the environment and mediate the changes, and the symbols that prevent clear communication from occurring. I argue that disability charges an individual to adapt their former identity and communication patterns in order to be successful in managing their new realities. My aim with this work is to bring awareness of the challenges those with acquired disabilities face in establishing and making sense of their new disabled identity.