Abstract

The popularity of autonomy and self-determination in thinking and talking about quality of life of individuals with mental retardation suggests a dominance of these concepts in the field today. Here we offer an analysis and evaluation of this view and compare it with two alternative and complementary views—solidarity and self-realization. Recent policy documents of central government and parents' organizations and recent policy documents of 22 agencies for people with mental retardation in the Netherlands are the basis of this analysis. Results suggest that proponents of these alternative views offer valuable criticisms of the dominant view. We appeal for an open discussion of various concepts and their respective strengths and weaknesses in relation to different clients and institutional contexts.

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