Managing Stigma and Expressing the Self
Personalised assistive products
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In this doctoral dissertation, the stigma of using assistive products is approached from the viewpoint of design. Personalisation is explored as means of managing the stigma. The dissertation proposes that some of the current ready-made assistive products can act as stigmatising Instruments, Misrepresentations and Uniforms. Personalised assistive products can function as Shields and Mainstream Products that help manage stigma, or as Accessories, Handicrafts and Prestige Items, through which various aspects of identity can be expressed. Assistiveness is introduced as a shared quality of assistive products, which could be adjusted through personalisation. The dissertation presents new types of functions to products that have previously been considered primarily assistive.