Archive | September, 2011

The R-Word Hurts People

Check out this simple-but-powerful video about the R-word. Sometimes we’ve got no idea
who our words hurt.

http://downsdad.wordpress.com/2011/09/28/a-girl-speaks-out-for-her-brother-about-retarded/

If you’re ready, take the pledge at http://www.r-word.org/ to stop using the R-word.  It’s nice to see people make a personal commitment to try and stop using the R-word.

I’d never argue that the word should be banned. I don’t believe in banning people from usingintellectual disability words. I’d like to think that people would just care enough to voluntarily stop using words that offend large groups of people. And I’ve already talked about how I can see the points of people on both sides of this issue. Ultimately words are just words.

However, the words we use do ultimately impact how people see us, and they say a lot about our intentions. It’s difficult to insist that you believe that you believe in communities where everyone can live in dignity and participate to the fully extent possible if you believe it’s okay to use language that’s become negatively loaded and that pertains to groups that you’re trying to make feel welcome.

Words of wisdom to finish with; I haven’t been able to find a source.  The bolding is mine.

Watch you thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become your character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.

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When Professionals Become Bullies

Bullies on “FOX and Friends”

This post isn’t explicitly about people with disabilities, but it is about people with which many people with disabilities struggle: bullies.

I don’t watch “Dancing with the Stars”, but I’ve heard that in this particular run of the series there’s

bullies

Bullying behaviour is very unprofessional

been a great deal of controversy about Chaz Bono being one of the contestants. Chaz was Cher’s daughter Chastity until undergoing gender reassignment surgery, and now is one of America’s most well-known advocates for transgendered people.

I will leave it to people more competent than I to explain why North America feels so threatened by transgendered people that their reaction to Chaz being on the show was so pronounced, including calls from FOX News contributor Keith Ablow that Chaz leave the show to keep children from wanting to change sex themselves (I will say a hearty “bullshit” to that, though).

I will *post* “FOX and Friends” reaction to the fact that Chaz slipped in the ratings after Tuesday’s show, because I think it’s among least professional pieces of journalism I’ve ever seen.

http://gawker.com/5844284/fox–friends-recoil-at-the-mention-of-chaz-bonos-name

For those who can’t access the link, it went like this (after all three anchors cringe at the mention of Chaz Bono’s name):

Brian Kilmeade: Steve, can you tell us more?
Steve Doocy: Uh, no, I can’t. [Laughs] Thank you very for that update.
Gretchen Carlson: [Hands on temples, as though massaging a migraine] Let’s talk about the Senate instead! That might take too long to explain to Steve, Brian, and the rest of the world.
Brian Kilmeade: The one part of Chaz that hasn’t been operated on!
Steve Doocy: So far! [Laughter]

Ridiculous and Scary

I can’t count how many hours my sister has spent on anti-bullying initiatives in the schools in which she’s taught. We as a society keep talking about how we have to teach our kids that bullying is unacceptable and that we need to celebrate people who are different than we are.

Only to have so-called “professional journalists” bring this trash to our televisions. With no apology forthcoming today from the bullies, from what I could find.

A world where the media gets away with bullying people makes me concerned about the people with intellectual disabilities in my life. A report from AbilityPath.org says already that students with disabilities are 2-3 times more likely to be targets of bullies than students without disabilities. I told students that bullies and make fun of them aren’t worth their time and aren’t worth being friends with, but I know it’s difficult for them to accept. It’s difficult to anyone for accept when people make fun of them.

Leave Chaz Alone

From the little I know of  Chaz Bono, I imagine that it’s had to have been incredibly difficult to make the transition he has under such close media scrutiny. That takes guts.

He’s more of a man than Brian and Steve will ever be, and infinitely classier than Gretchen. I know that’s kind of harsh, “FOX and Friends”, but what can I say – bullies just don’t do it for me, and you guys are old enough to know better.

 

Walk a Mile in Their Shoes: Bullying and the Child with Special Needs – A Report by AbilityPath.org  http://www.abilitypath.org/areas-of-development/learning–schools/bullying/articles/walk-a-mile-in-their-shoes.pdf

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Recruitment Programs: Necessary, or Reverse Discrimination?

Recruitment programs in universities and for some government jobs, along the lines of “affirmative action” programs in America, have always made me feel a bit uncomfortable. I remember writing on a university exam that recruitment programs for racial diversity were a band-aid solution with which we should do away, in favour of focusing on initiatives that truly leveled the playing field for whites and minorities: programs that made it easier for kids from all races to stay in school, and that made higher education more accessible and affordable for everyone.

Are Recruitment Programs Reverse Discrimination?

A couple of the youth with intellectual disabilities with whom I’ve worked have chosen not to use some social advantages that their status offers them, rather than admit that they have disabilities. I’m not sure whether it was out of a desire not to be lumped in with people with disabilities, or whether they were bothered by what’s arguably reverse discrimination. I know that when I considered applying for teacher’s college several years ago, I was put off by assertions that the universities I considered welcomed applicants representing different races, religions, sexual orientations, and people with disabilities, to encourage diversity within the student body.

“What, do you want a medal?” I thought, irritated. “You should be doing that anyway, without feeling the need to congratulate yourselves over it!”

I knew it meant that I stood a better chance chance of getting into the teaching school than someone with my academic and extracurricular record who didn’t have disabilities. This annoyed me too. I wanted to get in on my own steam, not because of my left side.

A Different Way of Viewing the Issue

I talked to a family friend about it, who said that I shouldn’t feel badly about taking my disabilities be a consideration. She pointed out that that having disabilities meant that I’d had to overcome some unique challenges to get to the point where I could get into teacher’s college and would mean that I’d have to overcome others to finish it. And, of course, it *is* good for students to be exposed to people in all areas of their lives who have disabilities. When I worked in schools, students were curious about my cane and my arm/hand and how it affected my life, and it actually gave me a common frame of reference that came in handy with some students with disabilities.

I never did end up applying for teacher’s college. Ultimately, I believe I’m in now in favour of recruitment programs in principle, despite my answer on the university exam (that was over 10 years ago, after all) but I still really wish that we lived in a world where everyone had equal access to resources, was regarded equally by hiring committees, and gave us no need for recruitment programs. I’ll stop there before I get into politics, because I know I said I’d let up on that for a while.

Is a Win-Win Situation A Good Enough Reason?

However, now, two months into unemployment and my only prospect potentially coming from a position perhaps coming from government funding specifically earmarked for creating employment opportunities for people with disabilities, I’m not feeling at all badly about taking advantage of that funding if it becomes available. I live in a very small town where the jobs for which I’m trained require a full driver’s license and usually your own vehicle, both of which are at least a year away for me now that my seizures are medically under control.  Many of those jobs also require two functioning hands, as do retail and food service. I’m trying to break into writing, but that may take a while.

There’s not a lot in my geographical area, in my line of work, that I can do, given my disabilities. So if there’s some government money out there earmarked for creating work for people with disabilities, bring it on. This time I do feel I’ve got a legitimate claim to it, because it’s either use it to compensate for legitimate challenges to obtaining work, or move somewhere else. And I like my where I live. It’s good for me. And I like to think that I contribute to my community (and that I could even more, someday).

It’s government money for a win-win.

That’s a good thing, isn’t it?

I’d be interested to hear other peoples’ opinions on this.

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Letting Go

I’ll admit it.  I have trouble letting go of the people I support.

I put a lot into the jobs that I’ve had. I’ve seen some difficult stuff, and I like to think that if I just try hard enough, I can save everybody from whatever struggle they’re going through.

But, of course, I can’t. That’s always been difficult for me to accept.

Two Kinds of People

Some people don’t want to be saved. That’s fine. I can let go in those circumstances. I let them know that they have options, and I offer to help them pursue the options in which they’re interested. If I feel that they truly understood what’s available to them, I can feel satisfied  that I did my job, whether they felt compelled to take any of those options or not. I can let them go.

It’s harder when I feel like the person doesn’t truly understand their options, or doesn’t understand what will happen if they make a choice (or fail to make a choice). Sometimes, as much as I try to make choices and consequences clear to a person, they just can’t (or won’t try to) understand. Or there have been times when someone has said that they understand, when they really don’t.

During those times, I believe that it’s on me, as the support person, to find more effective ways of communicating important information, or to find out why the person is hedging on trying to truly understand important information or make a choice about it…or lie about understanding information.

This sort of work can be very difficult. It’s incredibly worthwhile. But it’s draining.

Learning that I’m Not Perfect

And when I just can’t make that connection, and facilitate that understanding for a person…that’s when I have the most trouble letting go.

I expect that everyone who works in a social services setting has to learn lessons like these. I could never seem to quite get it.

Perhaps I’ll learn it all better in the next social services job. Even if that’s not my next *job*…I doubt I’ll stay away from social services forever…

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Open Letter As Election Approaches: Children’s Aid Society

“Children’s Aid Needs Aid”

http://www.orleansstar.ca/News/Local/2011-09-22/article-2755531/Children%26rsquo%3Bs-Aid-Society-needs-aid/1

As some of you may know, Ontario is going to elect a new Premier in October. I have some anotherchildren's aid society concern about youth with disabilities (separate from the one about about funding, about which I’ve already spoken to my Member of Provincial Parliament).

Talking to the Politicians

Dear Electoral Candidate,

As the election approaches, I feel the need to speak to you about child protection in the province.

I realize that the Children’s Aid Society and the Catholic Children’s Aid Society provide protection for children and youth up until the age of 16 (and thank goodness for that!) At 16 many teens can handle finding alternate accommodation with a friend or relative if a home situation is still abusive, or even handle independent living if truly necessary.

For teens with physical and/or intellectual disabilities, or a dual diagnosis of a, intellectual disability and a mental condition or an addiction, it’s often not so easy. Their needs may make it less likely that people will take them in, and they may not have the skills that they need to live independently. Unless they’re coming directly from a Children’s Aid situation where they’ve been a Crown Ward, they can’t access the the Extended Care and Maintenance program that would allow them to keep receiving CAS support up to age 21, and they’re not eligible for Adult Protective Services until age 18. That leaves many youth with disabilities in a situation where, while they can access other social services to potentially make the time at home easier, they can’t access protection services for two years. That’s a long time to live in an abusive situation where you don’t have the means, skills, or power to get yourself out, especially if you simply don’t know how to find the resources that you need.

It wouldn’t only only be youth with disabilities in this group. Some non-disabled youth leaving Children’s Aid not as Crown Wards are going to need protection for another couple of years just because of their situation as well.  Not everyone is confident about handling life and adult decisions at age 16.

Please raise Children’s Aid’s funding so that it can adequately meet the needs of children and youth  in Ontario that need it, right up until adult services kick in at age 18. An investment in our children’s safety in an investment in their future, Ontario’s, and Canada’s.  This really needs to be a priority. I’d gladly endorse the party that commits to addressing this within the next four years.

Sincerely,

Sarah Levis

So That’s It

I’ve been thinking about this one for a long time.

I need to find some stamps…

Have a great weekend. :)

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My AVM Story: My Hand

Every now and then someone asks me if I can expect any further improvement in my left hand. Myhand standard answer is that I don’t believe that I’ll ever be back to 100% of what I was.

However, my left hand still slowly improves. In a stroke like mine, any improvement after five years is fairly remarkable, and it’s now been well over ten years. So any improvement at this point, no matter how small, is really something to feel good about.

If You’re Going to Have a Stroke, Do it When You’re Young

Having a large stroke at 22 has its advantages (as opposed to having a stroke later in life). I had no other health issues (besides healing from the brain surgery, and the seizures the came from some scar tissue). My body was young and strong.

Most importantly, my brain was young and therefore still high in plasticity. Brain plasticity is a big plus when you’re healing from a stroke, because it means that parts of your brain can actually take over for other parts that are damaged. As your brain gets older, it loses plasticity.

Is it brain plasticity that’s recently allowed me to start wrapping my left hand around the door handles on Dad’s car when I couldn’t before? I don’t know. But a year ago I would have had to use my right hand to move my thumb to grip something like, and I don’t have to anymore.

Too Good at Living with One Hand

I’m actually starting to pick up some relatively narrow objects with my left hand, like my remote control, but not because my thumb wraps easily around them – it moves just enough to act like a shelf, still lying practically lying flush across my hand. Using my left hand too much makes it slowly clench into a fist.

I need to take responsibility for it not being further along than it is. I should be using it more – not go back to those incredibly frustrating hours in occupational therapy where they’d put mt right hand in a glove and and then make me do up buttons with my left hand for an hour, but just make a more concentrated effort to actually *use* my left hand during the day. After over 10 years of living one-handed, I manage pretty well, and it’s just become must easier to use my right hand to get something done than deal with the frustration of trying to do it with my left.

So What’s the Problem?

It begs the question of why I’d even try to get more function in my left hand, if I can manage with just my right. Well, there are things that I’m *always* going to need two things to do. I’m really limited when it comes to lifting some things, including my new baby niece. Sometimes jars are a challenge. It’d be really nice to have two hands to go on the wheel once I start driving again (my grip in my left hand is strong to begin with, but doesn’t stay that way).

It may be time to start occupational therapy on my hand again, to learn how to use it more in everyday life *with* my right hand…

Things to think about, as I plan my next steps…

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Living with Spinal Muscular Atrophy in India – Guest Blogger


Today we have a guest post by Pratyush Nalam. Pratyush lives in India, where attitudes toward integrating people with disabilities into society are much different than they are in Canada and the United States. Thank you, Pratyush, for sharing your story with us,

Being differently abled – An Indian Point of View

Hello everyone!! I am Pratyush Nalam, an 18-year old guy living in Mumbai, India. I have just finished high school and entered college for my undergrad. It is wonderful of Sarah to allow me to share my story on this blog.

I suffer from a disability called Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) which is a neuro-muscular and genetic disorder. It essentially means that I cannot walk due to the general weakness of my muscles. I also cannot lift any weight heavier than a one litre bottle. I am confined to a wheelchair and cannot move on my own. This disorder has no cure so I will never be able to walk.

Nonetheless, this hasn’t stopped me from doing anything and I always live life to the fullest.
My parents have been a pillar of support for me and have ensured that I don’t miss out on anything in spite of my disability. They have fought for me to get admission into normal schools. You might find this surprising being in the West, but it is a different story here in India and other developing countries. Schools are reluctant to give admission to students like me because an additional responsibility is placed on their head. This is in contrary to Europe and America where schools are positive about admitting any type of students and go to great lengths to ensure the child is taken care of even if he has special needs. Nevertheless, I must add that I am grateful to the schools I have studied in. They have taken good care of me and I am really indebted to them.

Challenges in Society

Living with a disability here in India (or any developing country for that matter) presents its own set of challenges. The first and foremost is accessibility. This has been the single biggest problem for me right throughout my life. You have steps everywhere but ramps will be present only in a few places. It is a great headache every time I go out. I have to think twice before going out whether it is for a movie, for shopping or just to have dinner at a restaurant. This is the reason I have always used a manual wheelchair instead of a motorised one. Life is much simpler because manual ones are lighter and it is easier for people to life when there are steps.

Another major issue is the attitude of the people themselves. People look at you in a different light whenever they see you in a wheelchair. They show unnecessary sympathy but no empathy. Moreover, you get all sorts of stares when you go out. You get the why-is-this-guy-in-a-wheelchair look as if it is a sin to be in a wheelchair and not be able to walk. There are even people who think that there is something mentally wrong with me. I have had persons asking my parents if I can hear and talk! I mean what nonsense is this! It is a Herculean task to make people understand that I only have a physical disability and my mental facilities are in perfect, working condition.

The Importance of Attitude

These challenges are faced on a day-to-day basis not just by me but anyone who faces a physical disability. Awareness among the common man is extremely low in such issues. Anyway, now I have entered college. I study at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay in the field of Computer Science Engineering. The field of technology has been my passion since childhood and hence, I have chosen the aforementioned branch. The institute has been very kind to me and they have been provided me with a motorised wheelchair to travel within the campus as distances on campus are very large. Ramps are present at most places and they have promised to build the remaining ones so that I don’t face any difficulty.

Living with a disability has not stopped me from living life just like anyone else but with some modifications. Life has been generally good and I am grateful to God for whatever I have. I also thank Sarah for allowing me to contribute to her blog. I also blog at  http://reflectionspn.wordpress.com/. It is a more general blog and I blog on all topics. You are free to contribute to my blog too. You can contact me at reflectionspn@gmail.com  or follow me on twitter at http://twitter.com/pratnala.

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Questions about Assault…

People with disabilities are much more vulnerable to assault, especially sexual assault than their non-disabled peers.

Stats Don’t Lie

After all, consider these 2006 statistics from the Disabled Womens’ Network Ontario:

  • The risk of sexual abuse of people with disabilities appears to be at least 150% of that of individuals of the same sex and similar age without disabilities.
  • It is estimated that only 20% of sexual abuse cases involving disabled people are ever reported to the police, community service agencies, or other authorities.

And this one from L. Stimpson’s and M. Best’s “Courage Above All: Sexual Assault Againt Women with Disabilities”, 1991:

  • 83% of women with disabilities will be sexually assaulted during their lifetime.

“When I was Young and Foolish…

Before the stroke, I  know I put myself in risky situations when there was no need.. I knew during university and college that I should use the Walkhome services, but I rarely did. At first I just couldn’t be bothered, but as the years progressed I really just didn’t want to feel like a victim. I told me friend Carol, “I’ve never been followed,”

“That you know of,” she said, and of course she was right. It still didn’t make me use the walkhome services any more frequently, though.

Reconsidering

After my stroke, I did start to get some unwanted attention from men. From one man, it was scarily unwanted, and forced me to start thinking about things like, “How far would you go if you felt threatened? What’s your safety plan?”

He wasn’t dangerous. He had issues, yes, but when I finally got the guts to firmly set boundaries with him about how I didn’t want him near me, and didn’t want him trying to talk to me or call me, and that I’d get authorities involved if he did, he left me alone.

I think that some of the attention I get from men definitely comes from a personality type that sees the cane and thinks, “There’s someone that needs me to take of her.” But I can spot that dynamic forming pretty quickly, and politely put the brakes on it – I don’t need someone to take care of me, and the man who’s not willing to look at me as anything more than that is just going to be disappointed by me anyway. But honestly, I think that the reason I get more attention from men now has very little to do with my disability:

I walk with a confidence now. I don’t look down anymore.

I look people (even men!) in the eye and smile.

I’m less shy. I like talking to people.

Before the stroke…self-confidence didn’t come so easily. I know it’s strange that now, with a cane and disabilities, it has…but maybe I’ll talk about that another time.

In Light of Stats on Assault on People with Disabilities…

I’m much more careful than I used to be about being in public by myself, particularly at night. I’ve heard enough statistics about women with disabilities and assault (and women and assault in general) that I don’t want to become one of them.  There’s making a point – and taking needless risk.  I don’t like to think that I live in fear, but I really was scared by what happened with that guy, and it was very mild as these things go…but it took me a long time to feel safe again.

So, lesson learned. Safety first. Take appropriate precautions for yourselves out there, and teach the young people in your life to do the same, especially ones with disabilities.

Because the stats I quoted are disturbing on several levels:

What is it about a person with a disability that makes the probability of he/she getting assaulted so much higher? Isassault it a perception that they are more easily overpowered? Is it a lower level of respect for their humanity? Is there a (apparently correct perception) perception that they are less likely to “tell”, or easier to bully into not telling? When I hear that that Johnson and Sigler’s research in 2000 reported that as many as 83% of women and 32% of men with developmental disabilities are victims of sexual assault, it makes me think it’s a combination of all of them, and that’s just not acceptable.

Why aren’t people with disabilities who have been assaulted telling the authorities about it? Are people not taking them seriously? Are they being properly educated on what assault is? Do they value themselves enough to tell? Do they have enough information on what would happen to separate the scare tactic of an assaulter from what would really happen if they went to the police?

Again, not acceptable. But it’s the way life is right now.  So we owe it to the people with disabilities in our lives to have these conversations abuse and assault so that they know exactly what they need to do if it happens to them. I’ve told youth that I’ve worked with to find one adult that they could trust to tell – a teacher, a parent, an adult, a worker –  and that the adult would help them with the decisions from there.  This approach won’t always work. But I believe that it works more often than not.

I got the statistics for this post from a sheet prepared by the Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre: http://orcc.net/PDF/factsheets/Sexual-Assault-Statistics-FS.pdf

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If London Can Do It…

Unstoppable Martyn Sibley

I recently attended a very informative webinar on independent living for people with disabilities by Martyn Sibley. As someone with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, Martyn knows his subject matter well.

From his website (http://martynsibley.com): “ I am a regular guy who happens to have a disability called Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). This means I cannot walk, lift anything heavier than a book or shower myself.”

However, Martyn’s disabilities have not stopped him from getting his Master’s, working full-time, advocating for for people with disabilities with a number of organizations, living on his own, traveling around the world, and opening his own business. Thinking about what he must do in a day makes me feel exhausted!

Transportation Accessibility in London: Putting Canada to Shame

Martyn is currently living in London, England. I was fascinated by his description of the transportation options available to people with disabilities in London. It seems that most of the cabs, buses and trains, are outfitted with an extendable ramp! Unheard of! People in wheelchairs being able to access *all* the buses, cabs, and trains? An accessibility dream!

London taxi cab

I said to Martyn that I’d never seen that level of transportation accessibility in Canadian cities (basing this on what I’ve seen in Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver, and Montreal). The first (and last) time I heard people talking about improving the  accessibility of Toronto’s subway stations was when Toronto was trying to get the  2008 Summer Olympics (at that time there were still two stations that people in wheelchairs couldn’t get into).

It really does beg the question: If London can have this level of transportation accessibility, why can’t Canadian cities? I realize that money’s tight and that it would require a mass re-outfitting of…everything.  I don’t expect it to happen overnight, the same way that I don’t expect any massive change involving people with disabilities to happen overnight.

But I think that the transportation systems in our cities need to start asking themselves the same difficult questions that non-accessible businesses should be asking: How much business are the they losing by remaining inaccessible? Can they really afford, in this day and age, *not* to improve accessibility?

Besides the fact that it’s just the right thing to do, as I’ve talked about in other posts…

Step it up, Canada. London’s making us look bad.

More About Martyn

Martyn’s conducting his next disability webinar from New York City, where he’ll be on vacation. Lucky guy…gets to live in a city that I love, gets to vacation in another city that I love…check out his website for details on the webinars and for more information on his work.

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Grateful to Be Canadian – Redux

I didn’t want to something like this so close to “I’m Afraid of Americans”, but I gave myself a scare

intellectual disabilities

copyright FreeFoto.com

the other night.

I knew as I switched to CNN on Monday night that my decision to watch the Republican Presidential Debate was likely against my better judgement.  I’d like to thank Michelle Bachmann and Ron Paul for confirming my suspicions.

Stick to the Facts, Michelle

To be fair to Michelle Bachmann, I don’t recall her actually suggesting, as she raked Ron Perry over the coals for his decision to have the HPV vaccine Gardisil administered in schools, that said vaccine causes intellectual disabilities. She has since taken it upon herself since the debate, in less-than-eloquent fashion.

Michelle Bachmann on Gardisil and “mental retardation”

 

Bachmann’s claims have caused quite a stir in both the medical and disabilities community, both of whom seem to agree that she is fear-mongering.

http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2011/09/13/bachmann-creates-stir/13940/

 

However, Ron Paul gets the award for making me get the closest to throwing something at the television set. As it was, I used some, uh, very unladylike language.

“Ron Paul drives me crazy. Half of what he says is brilliant. And then this happens:

Thank you, Danine Spencer, for summing it all up in this tweet.

I’m forever getting sucked into Ron Paul’s trap. He sounds sane compared to the rest of them for the first part of whatever interview/debate I’m watching. Then he just goes off the rails into this “WTF are you thinking??” stuff that makes me despair.

Danine was referring to this:

http://videocafe.crooksandliars.com/karoli/tea-party-audience-cheers-idea-leaving-sick

(Jon Stewart hoped that the people who cheered for the idea of leaving the sick man to die might have missed the fact that Paul actually said “No” when asked if he thought that should happen. I’ll leave it to you to watch the clip and decide what you think).

And here’s my point.

Proud to be “The Other” for People that Need It”

Ron Paul said that back when he was practicing medicine, churches, neighbours and friends took care of people who were sick and they didn’t have to turn people away from hospitals, but that we’ve forgotten this idea.

I’ve never worked in a hospital, but I’ve worked with agencies that have taken on the roles that churches, neighbours or friends would have played in the lives of people with developmental disabilities. I’ve often thought about how social services sometimes, in that caregiving role, become the “family” for people that have no family.

But for many of the people that I’ve worked with, they’ve never known anything *but* a family of caregivers, simply because they were institutionalized at a very young age. They had little, if any, contact with their families. They weren’t allowed to make community connections through places like church, or to makes friends outside of the institution. And then, when the institutions started to close, they were sent to communities where they knew no one.

Ron Paul might look down on Canada because he perceives us to be a socialist/welfare state. But my illustration is just a simple one of how just expecting churches/family/neighbours to meet everyone’s needs is terribly simplistic and simply doesn’t work. Reducing government agency supports to increase a person’s independence, when it becomes feasible and just generally healthy for the person, is a worthy goal – when there are natural supports to take over.  Not the other way around. And if that makes me a socialist, so be it.

So there, Ron Paul. Socialist and proud to live in a nation that values taking care of people that don’t have the means to take of themselves or people to help them.

(And Michelle Bachmann. I suggest that you assume that you voters are capable of doing basic research before you start tossing the anti-vaccine rhetoric around.)

Last post on American politics for a while. I promise. :)

 

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