Wednesday, February 15, 2017

It's a matter of choice

Funding of the National Disability Insurance Scheme is based on the individual's nominate goals in their NDIS plan.  Supports are approved based on the participants goals and the steps the nominate to achieve them.  It moves away from previous medical models of care or support by promoting individual choice.
The term "care" has negative memories in the 'disability community'  being "in care" or "care for", comes from the centuries where regardless of the nature of your disability you were locked away from view.  Like many I feel this was for the communities benefits not those who were placed in care. Sadly, the human race has a history of segregating people who are different.  Black and white; slave and free; free settlers and convicts; Native Australians and those of European decent and even men and women. 
Once the first Australians of this land were judged to be "unintelligent" and inferior, we now know this is not true. Segregations of those who are different have a long history of being exploited and abused.  History tells us whenever people feel superior and assume a position of control, potential for abuse occurs. The disability sector to date has been no exception.
The development and implantation of the NDIS has occurred under the influences of two things:-
  • A recognition by the United Nations that the rights of people with disabilities (regardless of the nature of their disabilities) as other people.  The NDIS has very much focused on the rights for all Australians to have full access to the community. We as individuals have no right to restrict choice of any individual. Of particular concern is the access to the judicial system due to the 'perceived' intellectual abilities of a person and their ability to understand the complexities of the legal process, denying many victims of abuse access to the law.
  • The other is a ground swell of people who wanted to see and need to the medical model of care, enforced on people with disabilities long after large scale institutions have closed their doors. People with disabilities and those who support them have clearly stared that they wanted control of the direction of their own lives.  We have too many document cases where people with disabilities such as CP have been assumed to be unintelligence when the clearly have their own voice. A voice they want to be herd.
For those living with disability the term 'care' is tied with the term 'duty of care'.  Many including myself find it offensive that an other individual assumes the role of protection, simply because my impairment is visible. In my opinion I am better equipped to care for myself than many who have been given a "duty care of me", over the years.
This is the position of disempowerment, that we as people living with disabilities are coming from. I am often criticism for being a advocate for those living with intellectual disabilities and mental illness the empowerment to make their own direction.  As `judges of abilities' we get it wrong often.  People have much more ability then we give them credit for.
I am a firm believer that given the correct support people with all disabilities can make informed choices.  In most cases that will be their family member who can see what they enjoy and don't enjoy.  I do think the participant should be actively involved in any plan process.
So what is choice and how do we make those choices?
For me choice involves having access to information and the right to an advocate who can enable to both understand the choices and the conquences.
Offering two choices when we know their are seven choices or offering a choice which someone can't understand or comprehend due to their limited experience is not, 'my idea' of empowering choice.  I think to empower someone to make choice around how they want their life to look like you need to facilitate that experience. I know that is time consuming but that is the individuals right.
Likewise if a participants said to me . . . this is all I know and I happy to run with that as I feel safe. Then for me that is a valid argument.  When it comes to the NDIS some people will chose the safe option.
This whole NDIS journey has so many emotions attach. We travel from different places and come from different experiences and views. In a scheme based on individual choice, we have not room to judge.
It is a matter of choice please make yours but don't commend me for making mine.  

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