People with intellectual disability can be supported by staff encouraging their skills in communication and in physical tasks. In a qualitative study, I used video evidence from a residential home and from 2 garden therapy services to argue that physical tasks are structurally more likely to result in successful performance (and corresponding positive assessment), whereas verbal tasks tend to result in failure (and corresponding correction and unsatisfactory interaction). I suggested 7 distinguishing characteristics of the 2 kinds of task and briefly discussed the policy implications for supporting people with intellectual disability.

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