Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Friday, September 9, 2011
In NC, 47.2% of people responding to an NCI 2008 survey reported they are lonely at least some of the time, 24% said they have no one to talk to. (The North Carolina Relationships Initiative)
Annually we complete a Personal Outcome Measures interview with each family. The purpose of this interview is to learn more about the participant and also what support we as an organization can provide to person to make that outcome a reality.
The current Personal Outcome Measures data indicates that Team Daniel adult participants have low outcomes in regard to intimate relationships and friendships. Intimate relationships take on a different meaning for adults than it does for children and youth. Intimacy and emotions do not discriminate among people; everyone has the desire to be loved and to love, to be intimate, and to have a close friend. Intimacy for adults also involves sexual relationships and desires.
In review of the data, it was found that no goals are written in the PCP for intimacy, there is no time scheduled for it, and agencies don't advocate for intimacy as they do for other areas such as freedom to choose a provider, case manager, and staff. In regards to friendships, in the typical setting, most people do not consider a person they pay for services or co-workers as friends. Generally co-workers are acquaintances people figure out how to deal with for 40 hours a week. Paid staff is people who are compensated for a service and time spent with a person. While there are always exceptions to the rule, sometimes it is implied all people with I/DD who attend Day Supports workshops should automatically consider other participants to be their friends. This should not be the case.
Life in the community, friendships, and social roles are low outcomes for Team Daniel children and youth. In review of the data many participants have community goals but these may not be the true goal of the participant or aren't full utilized so that the participant can benefit. For example, Billy may have a goal in his plan that says he will go into the community 2x per week. This goal could be accomplished as staff and Billy go to the same park each week in the middle of the same park each week in the middle of the day when no other people are there. Many times the goals in the plan are so basic that they become systematic routines that offer no real enjoyment for the person.
What can be done?
Intimate Relationships: Don't subscribe to the school of thought that the adult yo support is an "external child," as innocent and asexual. Adults with disabilities do have desires and are not asexual beings. It's not your role to protect them by withholding information. Don't ignore their signs of sexual interest or arousal. These are opportunities to educate and discuss the boundaries of sexual relationships:
- DON'T stereotype those individuals with disabilities who express their sexual interest as sexually deviant, threatening, or uncontrollable
- DO educate the person about sexual health and relationships
- DO provide the person with time for privacy
- DO provide an environment that the person can make connections, truly meet people, and explore their community
- DON'T just go into the community, be part of it (I.E. Social Clubs, Bars, Choir Member)
One of the first steps of friendship is developing an understanding of who you are. In the case of children, education about speaking up for themselves, appropriate social behaviors, how to keep them safe, and what to do when they have a problem are critical. Once there is an understanding of self-awareness and appropriate behavior the youth will be able to make decisions about friends. Change the goals and make them more specific to the child or youth's desire. Billy will meet with a friend of choice 1x a month. Billy will seek opportunity to volunteer within his church 1x per week. Goals that show more choice rather than designated places may assist in helping individuals feel more a part of the community, have a social role, and interact with friends.
Education for families and support staff about how to support healthy sexuality and relationship development are also critical. Human Services Research Institute is offering FREE Widening the Circle teleconference/webinar discussions about supporting people with disabilities in health relationships. Each event will feature a 45-minute panel discussion followed by an interactive 45-minute question and answer (Q&A) session, during which panelists will answer your questions.
Tuesday, September 13th from 6:00 to 7:30pm
Self-advocates discuss issues they experience regarding relationships and what they are doing individually and together address them. Panelists include representatives from three self-advocacy groups in Asheville, Raleigh, and Monroe who have been working with Monica Foster as part of the North Carolina Relationships Project. Monica Foster and Katherine McLaughlin, Widening the Circle workshop instructors, will co-facilitate this call.
Tuesday, September 27th from 6:00 to 7:30 pm
Parents, self-advocates, and an expert on guardianship discuss the natural struggle between people with concerns for health and safety and individuals wanting to control their own lives. Panelists included parents, a self-advocate, and a North Carolina expert on guardianship.
Tuesday, October 13th from 3:30 to 5:00pm
Staff from a provider agency in Charlotte, a family receiving services, and other discuss the challenges and successes of supporting people with disabilities (and being supported) to develop a range of relationships with people other than family and staff.
These events are FREE! Contact us at 1-866-528-6323 and we can assist you with registration or go to http://www.hsri.org/files/NCRI/NCRI_Registration_Form_2011.pdf to register.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Ask them to assure DD values are included in any plan.
-Protections against dramatic decreases in services must be included
-DD advocates/providers/consumers and families must be part of the development and review of any new plan.
Have you contacted your legislator? Click here to locate your legislator