This paper reports on a project that looked at the meaning stroke survivors assigned to assistive devices. Material culture theory served as a framework to help stroke survivors explicitly consider [dis]ability as a discursive object with a socially constructed meaning that influenced how they thought about themselves with impairment. Material culture theory informed the design (taking and talking to their peers about photos of anything that assisted) and analysis of the meaning of the assistive devices project. In our analysis of the narratives, survivors assigned three types of meanings to the assistive devices: markers of progress, symbolic objects of disability, and the possibility of independent participation. Notably, the meaning of assistive devices as progress, [dis]ability, and [poss]ability was equally evident as participants talked about mobility, everyday activities, and services. We discuss how considering [dis]ability as a discursive object in the situation might have enabled stroke survivors to participate.
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