Orchestrating an encounter: A note on the talk of mentally handicapped children

John D. Brewer*, Gill McBride, Steven Yearley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Patterns of power, leadership, authority and status within a group are all displayed in interaction and materially affect the flow of natural conversation. Authority and status, often accorded by mentally handicapped children on the basis of self‐assessments of communicative competence, can constitute important local resources which enable one of the parties to assume the role of co‐ordinator of the conversational interaction. In this case the interaction comes to comprise a type of setting known as an ‘orchestrated encounter’, where the talk takes a particular form which deviates from mundane everyday conversations. We use the notion of'orchestrated encounter’ to demonstrate the communicative competence of some children with severe learning difficulties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-67
Number of pages10
JournalSociology of Health & Illness
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1991


Dive into the research topics of 'Orchestrating an encounter: A note on the talk of mentally handicapped children'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this