G5 Doctoral dissertation (article)
Hahmotusvaikeudet koettuna ja kerrottuna ilmiönä : narratiivinen tutkimus merkitysten, toimijuuden ja kategorioiden rakentumisesta (2024)
Adults’ visuospatial learning difficulties : a narrative study of meanings, agency, and categories

Ylönen, S. (2024). Hahmotusvaikeudet koettuna ja kerrottuna ilmiönä : narratiivinen tutkimus merkitysten, toimijuuden ja kategorioiden rakentumisesta [Doctoral dissertation]. Jyväskylän yliopisto. JYU Dissertations, 788. https://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-86-0166-1

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsYlönen, Suvi


Journal or seriesJYU Dissertations


Publication year2024

Number in series788

Number of pages in the book1 verkkoaineisto (198 sivua)

PublisherJyväskylän yliopisto

Place of PublicationJyväskylä

Publication countryFinland

Publication languageFinnish

Persistent website addresshttps://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-86-0166-1

Publication open accessOpenly available

Publication channel open accessOpen Access channel


The aim of the study is to make visible the meanings of visuospatial learning difficulties for those who experience them and to highlight how visuospatial learning difficulties are constructed, legitimised and categorised. The research design is qualitative, focusing theoretically on social constructionism, Disability Studies and narrativity. The research task is to find out how the speech of those who experience visuospatial learning difficulties is used to construct a picture of those difficulties and what they mean for the individual’s own agency. I have used 58 writings on personal visuospatial difficulties as the research material. The material is analysed using qualitative methods focusing on legitimation, narratives and narrative-based agency construction.
As a result of the first research question, I present five ways of legitimising visuospatial learning difficulties: proving the reality, relying on expert knowledge, diagnostic differentiation, appealing to the permanence of difficulties and demonstrating the causality. With regards to the second research question, I present six types of stories: search stories, tragedy stories, adventure stories, survival stories, enlightenment stories and growth stories. In response to the third research question, I present five ways of constructing agency: agency constrained by visuospatial learning difficulties, socially shaped agency, self-imposed agency driven by personal demands, agency leaning on others and agency constructed from one’s own possibilities.
My research shows that the social construction of visuospatial learning difficulties happens culturally, as a part of social interaction. Without a diagnosis and medical guidance, meanings produced for visuospatial learning difficulties are mirrored in cultural model stories, and the definition of visuospatial learning difficulties is central to the boundary between normality and abnormality.

Keywordslearning difficultiesdiagnosticsconceptualisationdifficultiesexperiences (knowledge)narrationnarrativityhuman agencyexperts by experiencedoctoral dissertations

Free keywordsvisuospatial learning difficulties; categorisation; legitimation; narratives; narrative-based agency construction; social construction of diagnoses; experiential expertise

Contributing organizations

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2024

Last updated on 2024-15-06 at 01:46