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Community valued roles and Social Role Valorisation (SRV)

Social Role Valorisation (SRV)
Deinstitutionalisation
Disability services
Disability and community


A question of values
Building values and relationships
What is community?
How does the community care?
The role of Social Role Valorisation in the community
Community care Vs Institutional (social) care
The institutionalisation of community care
Disability services role models
A local community group (LCG)
Personal Fulfillment, Values and The Role of Supportive Communities
Social roles Vs Community roles Vs Identity
Social Role Valorisation and the community
Valued roles or Valued relationships
Labelling as a social phenomenon
Explanation of terms
Full Circle: The Future of services that support people with high support needs




Community valued roles and Social Role Valorisation (SRV)




Community


Role
SRV
The good life
A valued community role
The role of the family in the community
The role of the living community
The role of the recreation community
The role of the education community
The role of the employment community
What Is Community Care



Role: (Top) (see also labeling as a social phenomenon, Social roles Vs Community roles Vs Identity)
Is not exclusive to how we see ourselves or each other, a role can describe anybody or anything that we associate with or have any interaction with.

Roles are neither positive or negative. The value that placed on the role is determined by the expectations and behaviours associated with the role within the activity. At a shop, for example, there are a number of roles of the people in the shop. Two of those roles are 1) sales person and (2) customer. If a customer can not behave accordingly, or has some characteristic that does not fit into to the expectations of the sales person the customer may not be treated with dignity or respect.

1) We learn strategies (a set of behaviors) that we find useful in coping with our personal feelings and day to day situations. These strategies can be described as the person's role (or function) within the activity that the person is participating in. We learn these strategies through our relationships with others in society. In the family, at school, recreation or work all involve strategies. A lawyer, for example, learns a set of strategies in defending someone in court. A person learns set of strategies in teaching a class or being a father. A general learns strategies in defeating the enemy. A person with an intellectual disability learns social skills, life skills, employment/recreational skills and other positive behaviors that provide a valued role for the person (friend, painter, gardener, musician etc.). These strategies are often used in various similar situations, or mixed and matched in new situations, where the person has no existing sets of strategies. We generally have 2 or more sets of strategies that are used in different activities and situations, however, a person may apply one strategy to all activities and situations that may arise. Labels are also a way to describe these roles, where a person is characterised by a set of strategies or behaviors.

2) The term "Role" (also known as a social role or social function) is also used to describe the activity, the setting and the various interactions of the members within the activity and the setting, where these interactions are consistent and can be defined and measured (in the sense of comparison with other consistent interactions), and have a particular function within the activity and the setting.
These roles are determined by the society, community, club, team or group that we are participating in, in that there are a set of expectations and behaviours associated with the role within the activity.
(Note: I have avoided the term "behaviors", as a behavior describes a person's actions and reactions, rather than the various intercourses that happen between members, and their relationships with each other, within the activity and the setting.)

Our role in a particular activity is often predetermined by the type of activity, the setting and the other members of the activity. In a classroom, for example, (1): the type of activity is structured towards learning and the gaining of skills and knowledge in applying the learning, (2): the setting is separated (restricted to members that fulfil a set of criteria etc) and (3): the roles of the members are Teacher (imparts the knowledge) - Students (learns the knowledge). In order for a person to have a valued role within the activity and setting, the person must be able to satisfy the criteria associated with the activity and setting. Introducing other roles into the classroom (social system) may create some problems.

A particular role (or Label) is also placed on a person or group of people by a society, community, club, team or group as a way to justify or legitimise a policy or treatment of the person or group. This happens all the time where a particular behaviour or characteristic of the person or group does not fit into the normal behaviours or characteristics of the society, community, club, team or group. These policies or treatments often become institutionalised into the society, community, club, team or group.

Buildings also have different roles or functions within society. The role of the building describes the various ways buildings are used, and the various interactions that happen within the building. The function of the building is determined by these interactions and how they relate to the members. The most obvious of this is a "Function center" that is designed to be used for different functions. A concert hall has a particular role and function within society. Communities, hospitals, classrooms, groups/teams and even a knife can have a different role and function according to the user and others within the activity and the setting.


SRV: (Top)

SRV uses the concept of roles in the Implicit sense in that roles are used to generalise the values, behaviours and expectations (the institutions) that define the person or people, within a particular group, activity and setting, as a normal part of society. While this generalisation is true in the most part, I think that it is unwise to assume that the institutions of all activities and settings share the same roles.

For example, Wolfensberger describes in his paper "The Origin and Nature of Our Institutional Models" the buildings that devalued people were institutionalised in. They are characterised by the values, behaviours and expectations within the building. Rather than being institutionalised in these buildings, they were placed in these buildings because there was nowhere else. Because of a lack of skills and resources in the community they were assigned a devalued status. Once this transition happened, it became a normal part of community life (normalised in the community) in a sense that "these people are devalued lets lock them up". The outcome was that people who can not look after themselves, and need a structured life, were placed in large buildings that could provide their basic needs i.e.: they were institutionalised.

If I showed you a photo of a building, chances are that you would not know what its role was unless you knew what happened inside the building. In our community, we see all sorts of activities that are carried out in buildings of a similar design that have similar institutions (universities, hospitals, hotels, office buildings, factories etc). We also see examples of people being assigned a devalued status outside these buildings in communities.

Wolfensberger uses imagery (Semiotics- Signs and Symbols, Image Juxtaposition, Image Transference etc) with great effect so that the reader has an idea of what it may have been like to live in one of those facilities as well as society in general, and how he/she can avoid the same thing in the future. Maybe he has done his work to well, in as much as the points that he is trying to make and concepts he is trying to explain have been absorbed into almost every corner of our culture with gay abandon.

Just because a person has a valued role and is living in a home by himself or with others does not mean that his life is any less institutionalised (in the context of SRV) than he would be when living with 20 or even 200 others.

Whether the person with a disability is institutionalised (in the context of SRV) would depend on the:
... the model of care
... the amount of support the person has
... amount of restrictions the person has
... the setting of activities
... the structure of activities
... the person's relationships with others
... the formal/informal cultures, values, policies, practices and, the behaviours and expectations (institutions) of the administration and staff of the service provider.
(See Barriers to community participation)

When moving from one community (living, recreation, employment or education) to another, for example, we take on the policies and practices, cultures, behaviours, rules and regulations - the normal rhythms - of the community. We have to fit into the particular institutions of the community that we are joining.
Sometimes when the goal is the de-institutionalise a person, all we end up doing is re-institutionalising the person.

By changing the cultures, values, policies, practices and, the behaviours and expectations of the community, where people with high support needs have a better quality of life, we change the institutions of the community.

To Re-institutionalise then, is to bring about, or normalise, a behaviour, activity or policy that supports disadvantaged people within a setting, where that behaviour, activity or policy becomes a part of the setting (institutionalised).



I propose to use a more inclusive (community) definition.






The good life: (Top)

The goal of the human services is to make a positive difference in a person's life. There are things we can change (values, attitudes, behaviours, cultures etc.) and things we can't change (available resources etc.). By enabling people to fulfill their needs, develop community networks, participate in activities and share experiences within their community, they have the opportunity to become valued members of their community. Conversely, by enabling each community to fulfill the needs of its members, to foster and develop personal networks within that community, to facilitate strategies, solutions and activities so that all members have the opportunity to participate in those activities, and connect with other members through shared experiences and valued relationships, the community has the opportunity to become valued by its members as well as other communities that it is a part of.

Each community has a particular role that fulfils a particular need.
Valued community roles provide a common cause or focus for the community, as well as other communities that are a part of it.
Valued communities provide valued roles for their members.
Social role valorisation provides valued roles for ALL members of the community.

Communities that have valued roles in society …
... The spiritual community
... The family community
... The living community
... The recreational community
... The learning community
... The employment community
... The health community
... The internet community
... The blind community
... The disability community
etc

Communities that have de-valued roles in society …
... The AIDS community
... The drugs / rave communities
... The criminal community
... The gay / lesbian communities
... The Muslim community
... The bikie community
... The street community
... The unemployment / homeless communities
... The aged community
... The single parent community
etc

Community valued roles and Social Role Valorisation (SRV) complement each other in providing valued roles for each community in supporting people with high support needs as well as providing valued relationships within each community.

Today disabled people generally have more opportunities to access social activities (shopping, movies, functions etc) that most of us take fore granted. Various government policies are designed to allow entrance to buildings, parks and other venues so that disabled people could participate in and share the same experiences as others in society.

"The good life" means different things to different people. Only by developing the necessary skills, networks and valued relationships within his/her community (living, recreation, education or employment) can a person participate in, and become a valued part of their community. The needs of the person also needs to be balanced with the needs of the community in providing the most appropriate outcome for the person (people with high support needs will need a more structured setting than people with low support needs).

"The good life" could be described as: having the opportunity to participate in activities and share experiences etc (whatever the setting, structured or unstructured), in a positive way, where all the participants have valued roles. Although the settings are more structured and therefore more restrictive, it is possible for people with high support needs to have as good a life as possible that is most appropriate to their needs. (See also Disability services role models).


A valued community role: (Top)

We all play a role in each community we are a part of. A father in one community may be a teacher, worker or a painter in another community. The value of the person's role is determined by the expectations of the community in the person fulfilling that role. Sometimes other roles are assigned to members where they do not come up to those expectations of the others in a community. They may have a particular characteristic that is different to the others, or need special support that is not available within a community. If the person does not have something of signifance to contribute to the community, that person will be treated as different (asigned a devalued social role).

Social roles are how we see ourselves and others in society. They are often about a particular characteristic (age, gender, race, ethnicity, culture, occupation, disability or even ability) rather than the person. A Muslim, for example, is often treated different because of his/her religion and culture. If the Muslim also had a particular disability or disadvantage, that person would have less chance of becoming a valued member in society. The same can be said for an aboriginal, a bikie or drugie, or possibily even a bank manager or used car salesman.

SRV (which itself evolved from the concept of Normalisation) is probably the most influential social paradigm used to provide a better life for people with disability. The idea of Normalisation (where all members of society have the same right to a the same way of life as others within that society) has been around for a long time. It has only been in the last 10 to 20 years that we have had the incentives, skills and resources to provide for a more humanistic approach to meeting needs of disadvantaged people in society. SRV is about social roles. Society tends to group people into different classifications or groups according to a particular characteristic of a person that stands out. Regardless of the persons individual differences. society generally assigns a particular role to all people that share that characteristic. This role describes the persons behaviours, and how we should associate with the person. Roles are also a way to visualise the person and what we may expect from the person. Some social roles are positive. Hero, friend, supporter, defender of the faith, aussie battler, statesman etc all create a positive image of the person. Accordingly they are treated with respect and considerstion as valued members of society. Whether they are good people or not, is not as important as their social role. Other social roles are negative. Druggie, criminal, nigger, deviant, sick, dole bludger, alcoholic etc all create a negative picture or impression of the person, and as a result, the person will be negitavely valued, and treated differently to others, regardless of any other positive characteristicts the person may have. SRV shows us that disadvantaged people were devalued by society, and that by changing the way they are seen (their role), we change our behaviours and expectations, and add value to their lives by giving them the opportunity to participate in valued relationships and activities. Person Centered Planning, the Least Restrictive Principle and Transitional planning have all evolved from the principles of SRV. Each model is designed to allow (or facilitate) positive behaviours and attitudes within society, where the person to be able to participate, as much as possible, within each community that most suits the person's needs. These models of care could be thought of as the vechicle, SRV is the engine that drives each model of care, and government policy and practice serves as the highways and byways.

When we change the perspective from Society to Community we have a better idea of what we are trying to achieve. Community is all about valued relationships, about careing and shareing, about being with others we love (Understanding communities). SRV is all about providing those valued relationships and support networks to disadvantaged people who have been disenfranchised by society for various reasons. Valued relationships transcend roles. Without others to share our feelings with, life becomes meaningless. It does not matter how much money or possessions we have, if we have no one to share it with, life becomes meaningless. SRV is all about building values and relationships in communities. These communities may be a part of an organisation or service provider, a family or club, or work, or school. By providing valued roles for ALL members of each community that the person wishes to participate in and is most appropriate for the person (Disability services role models), the person is more likely to have valued relationships within those communities.



The role of the family in the community: (Top)

Communities (recreation, employment etc.) are not the same as there were 20 or 30 years ago. The telephone, radio, TV, motorcar, and now the Internet has changed our world forever. Advances in medicine, technology, health and knowledge in various conditions has meant that people with high support needs are living longer and healthier today. This group is becoming larger each year. Of course these groups should have the same opportunities and rights as anyone else in the community. I am not advocating that we should lock them up or anything like that, however, we should provide the most appropriate care for the person as well as each community that the person is a part of, where the community has the knowledge, skills and resources to look after their needs. Whether a person is a part of the community of a service, or a number of communities, the person should have the same opportunities as others within society.

"The Western Australian population will increase by about 22 per cent to more than 2.55
million people between 2008 and 2023 with most increase in the over 65 age group.
The total number of person's who identify themselves as having a disability will increase
by about 38 per cent to around 632,600 by 2023." (DSC : Disability Future Directions, 03/2010 : P.37)

We talk about the new generation and what they may do with their inherence.
... What will families be like in the future?
... How will they look after the needs of you and me in 30 or 40 years time?
... Will communities have the knowledge, skills and resources to look after our needs?
... What will be the role of a community in supporting people with high support needs?
... What will be the role of Gov. policy and practice in supporting people with high support needs?
... What will the current service organisations (ACTIV, TCCP etc.) be like in 30 or 40 years time?
... Will we depend on these organisations in the future?

Families have lost their knowledge, skills and resources in providing for the elderly. The socially accepted thing these days is to place them in a nursing home while we carry on with more important things. Other communities also have lost the knowledge, skills and resources to look after the needs of disadvantaged people and rely on organisations instead. Today we see a rising population, which is getting older, resources are being stretched, pressure in existing services is increasing etc. etc. I would not be surprised to see these current service organisations (ACTIV, TCCP etc.) become the institutions that Wolfensberger and others wrote about in the past (full circle). In fact I really think that it is already happening today and it's to late.

Maybe it's the society that we live in, that we need to deinstitutionalise, rather that the disadvantaged people that we are trying to deinstitutionalise. We need to provide valued roles to families and communities in looking after the elderly, people with disability and other disadvantaged (poor and destitute, and other medical conditions) so they have a future.

Families are groups of people that have strong bonds with each other.
They are connected with each other through bloodlines (brothers, sisters, nephews, cousins etc.) or some rite of passage or ritual that recognises the person as a part of the family (marriage, adoption, initiation into a family etc.). A group of people with criminal activities is also refered to as a family.

Have a defined set of roles, values, cultures, behaviours, expectations etc.
Ownership: The members feel a part of the family
Support
Trust
Share resources
Security

The traditional idea of a family unit, where the members spend time together, where the elderly are respected and looked after as a part of the family, where a person with high support needs would be looked after by the family, where the members are dependent on there own (or friends) resources are almost gone. When a family could not cope, they could ask for help from their friends or a local community group such as a church, school or community service group (Rotary, YMCA, Lions, Salvos etc.) or the local hospital. The community managed to support itself. There were no government agencies as we know them today around then.

Marginalised groups (aged, people with disability, poor and destitute, ethnic groups etc.) were devalued and still are today, and will probably always be. However while some practices were seen as cruel, these families and communities did the best they could with the knowledge, skills and resources that were available at the time. The aboriginal culture for example was also regarded as primitive, barbaric and uncivilised, but we are just beginning to appreciate their way of life. If you have an honest look at our own society today and what we do to each other, the aboriginal culture may seem tame in comparison.




The role of the living community: (Top)

The right to accommodation that most suits the persons needs, and access to community activities and facilities.

Just because the person with high support needs is living in a single dwelling, a group home, an enclave or an estate etc that is managed by a local community group (LCG), does not mean that that the person does not have the opportunity to develop valued relationships and shared experiences within the facility and the wider community. The person also has the opportunity to meet with others in the community (neighbours, at the shops etc).

By the inclusion of representatives of other community groups in the LCG (LAC - Local Area Co-ordinator -, local club, local school, church etc), strategies and solutions can be found where people with high support needs are valued and have valued roles within that community.

Through the development of community links and networks, solutions can be found to issues such as:
transportation
medical needs
specialised equipment
personal needs
etc
within the community.

The person still has the opportunity to access an organisation or service (LAC and other Gov. dept's, TCCP, Activ, Swan taxies, IDEntity, HACC etc) that specialise in a particular area of care for the person, within the facility that is co-ordinated by the LCG.

The living community gains the skills, knowledge and resources to provide for the needs of its members.




The role of the recreation community: (Top)

The right to participate in those activities that are most appropriate for the person towards developing valued relationships and shared experiences within that community and the wider community.

The club, group or organisation's role is to provide activities designed to fulfil the needs of its members.
With the help of the LCG solutions can be found where people with high support needs are a part of that community.

Depending on the persons needs, the recreation can be within a community facility, the wider community or a mixture.
People with high support needs still have the opportunity to develop valued relationships and shared experiences in a non-participatory sense:
Bowling
Painting:
Stamp club: The person has an opportunity to learn about stamps
Photo club: the person can not take photos, but still has input into the process and discussions on photography
Fishing: the person still has the opportunity to participate in the activity and share the experience of catching the fish, even though someone else caught it.
Horse riding: the riding community may have a buggy etc where the person has the opportunity to go riding with the other members.
Etc

Each recreation community that the person is involved with gains the skills, knowledge and resources to provide valued relationships and shared experiences.




The role of the education community: (Top)

The right to the development of skills and knowledge towards a more active and productive engagement with others within the wider community (valued roles).

The role of education is to provide of skills and knowledge to it's members.
In a classroom, for example, (1): the type of activity is structured towards learning and the gaining of skills and knowledge in applying the learning, (2): the setting is separated (restricted to members that fulfil a set of criteria etc) and (3): the roles of the members are Teacher (imparts the knowledge)- Students (learn the knowledge). Introducing other roles into this community (social system) may create some problems.

This does not mean that people with high support needs are disadvantaged. On the contrary these people will be advantaged in that (1): the education is designed to suit their needs and, (2): may encourage the development of valued roles within the community if done properly.

Through the co-ordination of the LCG, solutions can be found to issues such as:
transportation
medical needs
specialised equipment
personal needs
etc
within education community

Just because the person is in another class, does not mean that the person does not gave the opportunity to develop valued relationships and shared experiences within the facility.




The role of the employment community: (Top)

The right to a more meaningful and productive life.
Gainful employment means: being able to fulfil our needs, provides us with a sense of value and worth in others, and an achievement, as well as ourselves and satisfaction in what we do.

By being a part of a LCG representatives of the employment community can be more actively involved in developing strategies that support people with high needs. Through the co-ordination of the LCG, solutions can be found to issues such as:
transportation
medical needs
specialised equipment
personal needs
etc
within the employment community

Local community services are a start to people becoming a valued resource in the community.
Bob's gardening
Paul's painting

The employment community would have the support of the LCG in providing the skills and knowledge in providing for people with high support needs.
The facility may be a home, work place, office or factory. The setting may be separated, partially integrated or fully integrated. The most important thing is that the person has the opportunity to participate in a gainful activity, and be valued as a part of that community.





What Is Community Care: (Top)






01/10/2010
Peter Anderson
http://www.psawa.com