A training module for generalist social workers working with people disabled Social work programs in Canada teach emerging generalist practitioners about the consequences of oppression in the lives of the clients they work with.
More emphasis within social work education could be placed on practical ways of contextualizing forms of oppression as each relates specifically to practice. current students or direct practitioners) to work with issues of disability as they emerge in their direct practice with clients. The training module helps to facilitate learning specific to the leading theoretical discussions and the social context of disability within society. Disability is recognized as an issue of discrimination that results in inequality at a social and individual level. There are omissions, though, within the literature that would help social work practitioners conceptualize appropriate methods of practice with people disabled by the social environment. As a corrective, the following offers a framework for a diversity training module that is intended to help undergraduate generalist social work students and direct service practitioners to think about the issue of disability in relation to current social and theoretical contexts. Disability issues related to the physical, developmental, learning, and mental health aspects of people are present amongst all populations and age groups. Therefore, even if a practitioner is not working within a disability specific agency, they should expect to encounter disability issues both visible and invisible amongst their clientele. Initially, a theoretical context of the concept of disability, and in particular the experiences within Canada, is provided. We draw on firsthand accounts within the literature to show some common themes identified by people disabled by the social environment. The intention is to make connections between theories of disability and how each relates specifically to real life situations. We find it useful to make these points at the outset, because when understanding oppression we need to go to the source of where that oppression occurs. Not doing so results in policy platforms, social theories, and service delivery frameworks that attempt inclusivity, but by the language used (Bolt, 2005) and the outcomes experienced (van Daalen Smith, 2007) in many ways help to create and/or maintain a social system of dependency, degradation, and disempowerment (Wachsler, 2007); essentially, further marginalizing people from being fully engaged in many, if not all, aspects of society. It becomes critical for a profession like social work to understand the connection between theories and practical experiences to effectively challenge societal oppression through our direct work with clients; whether that work is individually focused or directed at a macro level. A key assumption of this training module is that we need to challenge perceptions to effectively teach practitioners about oppression generally and disability specifically. To elaborate, here is a scenario of questions to consider: When walking through a doorway with someone directly behind you do you keep the door open for them? Now what do you think when you do that? We are talking here about being mindful; thinking that happens implicitly in the moment. Mindfulness in social work practice is a concept that has been linked to reflective practice and can impact how and why we work with people (Hick, 2008; Marash Phillips, 2008; McFadden, 2008; Mishna Bogo, 2007). Now, in your mind, put that person in a wheelchair. Now what do you think? Are your feelings and thoughts about opening the door for someone using a wheelchair different than for someone who is not? The way that we interact with the concept of disability, like other points of diversity such as race, gender, sexual orientation, age, etcetera, is very much a thought process guided by perception. Our assumption is that to effectively engage undergraduate students or direct practitioners in understanding oppression we need to consider in further detail how our society, and we as individuals, have come to these various thought processes. As a beginning point, the literature review investigates the many concepts related to disability and provides a contextual background of why people have come to this particular thought process. Rooting the issue of within the present context of disability can help practitioners to then break down their own assumptions and thoughts about disability and base their thinking, instead, on the present social movement of disability issues. The primary intention of this training module is to teach undergraduate students about the concept of and how to be reflective of disability related issues within their own practice. Ableism has not been adequately explored or investigated within academic literature, nor has it been emphasized extensively within education (Wolbring, 2008). For example, a recent book publication on disability and social policy in Canada does not consider in any of the edited chapters (see McColl Jongbloed, 2006). Even though it is conceptually absent from many research agendas, ableism should be considered in parallel to terms like racism, sexism, heterosexism, ageism, etcetera (Miller, Parker, Gillinson, 2004). Ableism refers to the oppression of people in society that become marginalized based on their abilities (Wachsler, 2007). At the root of this dialogue exists a set of ideas about the abilities of people, and when one does not have those abilities they become stigmatized and degraded when they intersect with the social realm. Discussions of the meaning of offer insight into why this is the case. imposed restriction (p.50). Essentially meaning, as Finkelstein (1981) suggests, people who are considered to not be disabled would be disabled if our surrounding environment (physical and social) was not designed to meet their needs (as cited in Lordan, 2000, p.52). As a result, some have articulated the need to challenge and change our environments to meet the needs of people with impairments (French, 1983, as cited in Lordan, 2000, p.52). We agree with these fundamental points, but would reconsider the use of the term impairment, and instead use language which recognizes the unique diversity and range of abilities inherent to all individuals. With this change we are forced to consider our own roles as professionals and social actors in stigmatizing people disabled by our social environment and controlling the way they experience the social environment through our direct service work; a key aspect of critical social work. As a result, in its entirety, this training module is intended as an exercise in critical social work practice. One further point to elaborate, before discussing these concepts in relation to the Canadian context specifically, relates to the use of language throughout this article. To describe a group of people that are disabled by the social environment, the term people tends to be the most recent nomenclature utilized within academic disciplines. person with disability), but after a review of the literature this seems to be waning for a multitude of reasons many having to do with issues related to empowerment, individualization, and the categorization being made by people who self identify as being disabled. There is a distinction also with language between European and North American case examples. The language itself is overly problematic, but agreeing that is a social construct created as people intersect with their external environment provides a different conceptualization of the idea person. Being disabled should say something more about our social environment than the person categorized this way. Person first language does not support this type of rationalization; instead, ray ban glasses classic it promotes an overly individualistic perspective of As a result of this distinction we have chosen to use the term disabled people to refer to that group of people who are disabled by our social environment. In Canada during the late 1980s a shift began to occur from an individualist model to a socio political model of understanding disability (Bickenbach, 1993; Jongbloed Crichton, 1990). Jongbloed and Crichton (1990) have illustrated how some policy relating to transportation, recreation, and shelter had been revamped to meet the requirements of this new model of conceptualization, while other policy and program areas, specifically employment and income support, still had remained individualistic a condition that still persists (Jongbloed, 2006). As an example of this individualistic framework, at the federal government level, the Office of Disability Issues (a branch organization of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada) signs agreements with and provides funding to provincial governments through the Multilateral Framework for Labour Market Agreements for Persons with Disabilities (Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, 2010). The provincial government of Alberta, for example, then provides services through the Disability Related Employment Supports program, with a primary focus on workplace, job search, educational, and assistive technology supports (Government of Alberta, 2010); all of which are still rooted in supporting the individual without acknowledgment of how the social and economic environment create disability (similar conclusions have been made about policy in the United Kingdom, see for example Roulstone, 2000). In contrast, a socio political model of understanding disability focuses on altering the social, political, rb sunglasses shop or economic environment, rather than changing individual behaviours or functioning (Jongbloed, 2006). The focus of this model has been on equality and promoting human rights for disabled people (Bickenbach, 1993; Lordan, 2000). There are many examples of this model in recent Canadian history. One example is the disallowance of discrimination based on a person ability being included in the Canada Human Rights Act (1977) and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (1982). This was accomplished through the lobbying efforts of the presently named organization, The Council of Canadians with Disabilities, and the former, Committee on the Disabled and the Handicapped (Graham, Swift, Delaney, 2008). However, as recent as 2005, fifty percent of all complaints to the Canadian Human Rights Commission had identified disability as the reason for which a person was discriminated against (Human Resources and Social Development Canada, 2006). What this number represents can be construed in multiple ways. What it signifies, though, is that policy areas are not sufficient to challenge people thinking about disability. Specifically, these policy proscriptions often miss how and why people experience success and failure in the various aspects of life. As a corrective, an abridged theoretical model has developed in recent years. Following post modern theory, a socio constructionist approach combined with the socio political model has sought to incorporate the lived experiences of people that are disabled by our social environment into a social understanding of disability (for example: Goodwin, Krohn, Kuhnle, 2004). These studies offer insight into how people that are disabled by our social environment adjust to the negative social situations they experience. These insights could greatly assist policy analysts, service delivery systems and personnel, and the wider social community. As an example of this research, Green, Davis, Karshmer, Marsh, and Straight (2005) found that people disabled by the social environment find creative means by/with which to deal with the stigma that is present in their lives. Also, a recent study conducted in the United Kingdom demonstrated that people tend to have positive self esteem, but found negativity in their relationships with other people (Thomson McKenzie, 2005). Studies like this suggest that methods of intervention need to be undertaken that challenge the way in which people are stigmatized within the social environment, and more importantly, by other people. This is a theme that was captured in a digital story that was created as a supplemental learning tool for this specific training module. Other research has found that some people disabled by the social environment experience deprivation and hardships within multiple aspects of their lives (Parish, Magana, Cassiman, 2008). Some literature describes these hardships in relation to the situation of internalized (Kumari Campbell, 2008). This theme is not well explored empirically or conceptually within academic literature and is a significant omission to our understanding of the experiences of people disabled by the social environment. Like Kumar Campbell (2008) study, others have also found that the quality considered disabling was not the primary source of their hardship. Instead, the way a mix of abilities intersected with societal structures (like seeking employment and negative public perception) resulted in the negative experience (Jones, Hardiman, Carpenter, 2007; Shier, Graham, Jones, 2009; Woodcock Tregaskis, 2008). Overall, research discount ray ban sunglasses conducted on the lived experiences of disability challenges us to rethink and renegotiate our role as social workers with those people that are disabled by factors in our social environment. Greater consistency in service delivery methods and interpretations is required of social work educators in training practitioners in anti oppressive practice with those that are disabled by our social environment. At present, the literature on disability related service delivery varies in intention and focus. For example, it has been described by some that the role of the helping professional in relation to disability is to help a client accept their disability and make necessary accommodations (Megivern, 2002). Likewise, other literature focuses on best methods of intervention when working with disabled people to make those necessary accommodations (Strock Keller, 2007). Quality of life tends to be the focus of all this literature. Further research investigation is necessary to determine the inconsistencies in definitions of quality of life as understood by people disabled by the social environment and those that are not. The field within disability services is a fundamental example of these issues with service delivery. Rehabilitation is about and is very much rooted in the individualist framework of relating to disability. A fundamental point intuitively identified by Wachsler (2007) describes this situation and provides an alternative perspective to understanding social service delivery for people disabled by the social environment. She points out that a person quality of life is not determined by their ability to walk, or to hear, or to see. Support services in many ways simply attempt to improve quality of life by maneuvering around the barriers enacted on people disabled by the social environment. She eloquently states: PWD [Persons with disabilities] must be seen for who we are: Regular people, neither pathetic poster children nor superheroes the unimaginable. And regular people need regular things: transportation, be it bus or wheelchair; help around the house, be it from their kids or personal assistant; information, be it gleaned from print or sign language or Braille; relief from pain, be it an aspirin or a prescription for morphine; and a decent standard of living, be it from a job or a government check. When all people are provided with such necessities, they will be assured the opportunity for a good quality of life. This is what PWDs deserve and require tangible assistance that provides freedom, independence, and control over our lives as disabled people, not adulation, pity, or encouragement to focus on a cure that will make us nondisabled [emphasis added] (Wachsler, 2007, p.14). Like Wachsler (2007), others have articulated the need to move away from these definitions of service delivery. Rummery (2006), for example, looks at the role of disabled people in defining their service delivery in relation to government controlled funding arrangements. Rooted in these ideas are challenges to the role of the disabled person in these relationships; moving from the passive receiver of care and medical services, to an active participant in defining that service delivery model. Likewise, Gilson and Depoy (2002) found, after analyzing disability content within social work education, the same limitations. Education needs to also be transformed such that it considers the disabling qualities of our social environment. Literature describing service delivery for people disabled by the social environment, if not focusing on the individualistic aspects of disability, tends to focus on the socio political model, emphasizing the socio constructionist approach less. We asked ourselves, in what direction we should go from here? A lot of these issues have been brought forward within the disability social movement. Social movements simply refer to those large scale movements where people rally behind a particular identity to enact changes within society (Boyce, Krogh, Boyce, 2006; Scott, 1990). Many have described who is part of this particular movement (see for example: Oliver, 1990; Prince, 2006), and what comes out of these definitions is a ray ban aviator 3025 notion of a community within Canada (Prince, 2006). Many of these discussions have limitations on who belongs and what role each person or group should and could undertake. Although this movement is a necessary component to understand the context of disability within Canada, it is also necessary to demonstrate to society the multiple ways that disability touches people lives and to promote improved reflective practices within this profession around issues related to In fact, the success of many movements has been based on the concept of experiential affinity. Relating this concept to the profession, we are simply referring to those shared experiences that bring about commitment in the work that we do. As a result, the training module provides two other insightful stories of the impact of the way people think about disability on people who do not self identify as being disabled by our social environment. For one, the person was affected based on their personal relationships, and the other their professional relationships. Through this process practitioners are then able to reflect on their own experiences with disability and connect it to the present context of disability as it exists in society. A further model developing within the literature and worth mentioning is disability theory The ontology of critical disability theory focuses primarily on power relationships between government and people (in this case, those people disabled by the social environment) (Pothier Devlin, 2006; Tremain, 2005). As a conceptual model it criticizes social models of understanding disability (see Tremain, 2005), but within the model some emphasis is placed on a combination of socio political and socio constructionist approaches to explain the context of disability (see Pothier Devlin, 2006); similarly to that which was described above. These discussions, though, remain primarily conceptual, with minimal emphasis on how to move forward. Instead, the model presented here follows from post modern traditions; looking beyond the political dynamics between people and government.
In fact, there is more to social models of disability than what critical disability theorists allow. One of the fundamental omissions is the consideration of the role of disabled people in society and that of third sector social service organizations. While critical disability theory fixates on the act of realizing how we as professionals contribute to social inequality and maintain systems of oppression through our work, post modern theory, instead, allows us to move beyond that and begin to realize the deconstructive process of reflection and move f.
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