This paper explores the participation of residents with intellectual disabilities in their encounters with staff by focusing on the relationship between residents’ engagement in activities and the occurrence of shared excitement that is a collective arousal establishing solidarity. The methods used included participant observations and interviews with eight residents and 12 staff at two Danish residential services. The findings illustrate how shared excitement is produced through the establishment of mutual focus on a familiar symbol, shared feelings, and synchronisation of speech, gazes, and bodily movements in resident-staff interactions. The potential of evoking interactional synchrony is related to the residents’ familiarity with the symbol used in the activity and to the encounter between resident abilities to engage and staff support. The findings suggest that interactions producing shared excitement can foster residents’ participation, a crucial concept in Scandinavian disability policies.
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Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research