! Understanding communities
Dysfunctional communities !
disability service organisations ! An alternative model ! Community research ! Community survey
Explanation of terms
LRP: The Least Restrictive Principle
PCP: Person Centred Planning
SRV: Social Role Valorisation
TP: Transitional planning
with high support needs
Social care (see Institutional care)
Social Role Valorisation (SRV)
Boundaries can be physical, virtual or psychological. They define the
identity of the community. All communities need a way to determine what
the community does and how it does it. Without boundaries, the roles of
the community become meaningless. Does a sporting community focus on
transportation or scientific research? While transportation or
scientific research may be a part of the community, they are not a part
of the role on the community in society.
Without boundaries the community may ...
... become unfocused,
... become too diversified and uncoordinated,
... not adequately provide for its own needs, or the needs of its
... create tensions within communities that it is a part of, or a part
... create layers of bureaucracy that become communities in their own
Boundaries are often defined by the ...
... the institutions of the community
... the members of the community
... the settings (physical, virtual or psychological)
... government (local state and federal) policy and practice
... other communities that it is are a part of, or are a part of it
origin of "community" is from
the latin word:
sociology, the concept of community has led to significant debate, and
sociologists are yet to reach agreement on a definition of the term.
There were ninety-four discrete definitions of the term by the
mid-1950s. Traditionally a "community" has been defined as a group of
interacting people living in a common location. The word is often used
to refer to a group that is organized around common values and is
attributed with social cohesion within a shared geographical location,
generally in social units larger than a household. The word can also
refer to the national community or global community.
The word "community" is derived from
the Old French communité which is derived from the Latin
communitas (cum, "with/together" + munus, "gift"), a broad term for
fellowship or organized society." (Wikipedia)
The origin of the word "community" comes from the Latin munus, which
means the gift, and cum, which means together, among each other. So
community literally means to give among each other." (Seek To Know)
The idea of "community"
probably came about where people gathered
around a common area for their mutual benefit. Sharing a language,
customs, ideas, skills, goods and services, or protection from enemies
would be some of the advantages in being a part of a group. Over the
idea of community has change to accomodate different things. While
different definitions mean different things, the idea is the same; that
a group comes together or lives together to share something that is of
value to the members of that community. Today the word "community" has
taken on whole new meanings, New technology in communitation and
transportation mean that a community is no longer where we live. While
we may live in a suburb, town, city or some geographical location, they
no longer define the communities that we are a part of. Communities
have also become so specalised these days that we no longer look for
one community to fulfill our needs. (See Understanding communities
See also Institutional care.
Is about how the community looks after
What skills and resources does a
How are those skills and resources used within the community?
How does the community ballence its own needs with the needs of it's
Community care is ...
Informal, where there are no rigid
guidelines or principles that define the care. Is not bound by
government policy or practice.
Spontaneous, where the service is
temporary in fulfilling a specific
need at a particular time and in a particular setting.
Relies on community members to provide
members supporting each other.
A value in being a part of the
Having something to contribute to the
A social label that describes a characteristic
of a person that
prevents or disables the person's
ability to meet his or her needs. The labels "people with disability",
"mental illness" etc are used as a means to
identify a social group that has access to a service that specialises
in supporting that group. These labels are generally assigned to a
person by some bureaucratic process (Disability Services, Disability
support etc) that allows access to the service
with disability (inclusive definition)
as a social phenomenon
accepted social labels that were used 40
to 50 years ago, and are considered inappropriate and devaluing these
reflect the changing social landscape that we live in today. The same
happens in any social setting, where the use of terminology to describe
social group becomes outdated. Just as fashion reflects the era in
which it was
fashionable. Language also reflects the society in which it was used.
generation creates its own vocabulary. Think about the words that are
describe "Disability". What meanings do we attach to these words
today? What words were used 40
ago to describe the same things? How will people in 40 to 50 years time
describe the terminology we use today in describing people with high
needs? Will "disability" be a dirty word?
disability service organisation
refers to any service that is
provided by a
service group or organisation that specialises in looking after the
people with disability. The organisation may specialise in a particular
care (accommodation, recreation, education or employment), or provide
that include all aspects of a person’s life. Organisations are
by the Disability Services Commission (DSC) and contracted to provide
service within the policies of the DSC. Various government policies
legatimise the roles of these organisations within society. The disability service sector is also an
industry in it's own right.
Disability services provide a valued
role in society today. They
provide the skills and resources that are not available within the
wider community, that support a group of people with high support
The service is a community in its own right in providing the staff,
volunteers, living, employment, educational or recreational activities
within society. The networks, relationships and shared experiences of
the members provide the community of the service with a sense of
purpose and direction within society. The service also provides the
knowledge base that supports a particular group in society."
Any person becomes disadvantaged when he/she does not have the same
opportunity, access or ability to participate in an activity that is
available to others. Having a disability, as defined by some social
policy, could be seen as an advantage where a person is allowed access
to a disability program, or seen a disadvantage where the person can
not provide for his/her basic needs. In this case the disadvantages
outweigh the advantages. A person that has a great deal of wealth has a
number of advantages over others, however there are also some
disadvantages associated. In this case the advantages would probably
outweigh the disadvantages. Are unemployed or pensioners disadvantaged
where they cannot find productive employment and do not have enough
money to live on? Or are they advantaged in that they receive a
payment that they do not have to work for?
The idea of "disadvantaged" can then be seen as a personal thing as
as a social thing. Whether a person is advantaged or disadvantaged in a
situation depends on the activity, their particular needs at the time,
their values and expectations, as well as the needs, values and
expectations of the community and the society that they are a part of.
Any community that can not meet the needs of its members. (See Dysfunctional communities
Within the disability sector the term "institution"
has been used to
describe the building and the various activities that happened within
the community of the building. Unless otherwise stated, "institution"
is used to describe
the formal and
informal cultures, practices, behaviors and expectations of the
members of an
activity that involves two or more people. The institution is a part of
of the community, of the building.
Institutional care can also be described as "Social care". (see also "Community care"
Where there is a specific need that can not be managed by a community,
a service is created that specalises in that need.
Hospitals, for example, are designed to fulfill a specific need in the
community. The hospital has a specific set of values, behaviours and
cultures (institutions) that are unique to the hospital and not used in
the wider community. There is generally a set of criteria, process or
rite of passage that
allows entry into the service. There is also an induction where a
person goes through some formal procedure before entry.
A disibility service or organisation provides a service that is not
available within the wider community. The service may provide
accommodation, recreation, education or employment for a person or a
group of people within the community of the service or organisation
because the there are no services available within the wider community.
The institutions of the service or organisation provide the way the
members of the community of the service or organisation are supported
Shows the relationship between
the the skills and resources of the community,
and the amount of support that can be provided within the
Interventions are often thought as
social programs, usually built on evidence based
, that are designed to improve the way members
participate in society, We think of interventions as being medical,
technological, behavioural, scientific, spiritual, and even political,
environmental, geological or commercial. These happen on an unconscious
as well as a conscious level. If fact any act, process, policy or
that is designed to influence, modify or change a person's (or group of
people) thoughts, behaviors or actions can be thought of as an
intervention. Interventions happen at all
levels of society. In the family we learn various behaviors through
the normal interaction between the family members. Other interventions
come from various sources in the community and society. The various
rules and regulations that we live by, social programs, TV, peer groups
etc. are all designed to influence, modify or change the way we see
ourselves and interact with others.
See labeling as a
roles Vs Community roles Vs Identity.
Ownership is used in the sense of being
a part of something. A family or community has ownership of its members
in the sense that the members are a part of the family or community.
There is a shared sense of responsible for the activities and the
behaviors of the family or community.
The implications of this are ...
the members share in the good times and
the members have access to the skills and resources
of the family or community
the members support, and are supported by, each other
the family or community has authority over its
the needs of the family or community take precedence
over the needs of the members
Just because a person has as
disability, does not automatically mean that the person has high
A person that has high
support needs can not function properly without support that takes up a
major part of the persons life.
A person may have
A substance addiction
A medical condition
A behavioural condition
That requires special interventions that are provided by a service
Any person that is supported by a service provider where ...
the person does not have the skills or
resources to provide for his/her needs
the community does not have the skills and resources to provide for
has a disability, medical or social condition and needs constant
may be seen as a danger to themselves
may be seen as a danger to others
A service provider can be any service that specialises in support
within a particular model of care.
... medical: hospitals,
nursing homes etc.
... social: disability services, community services, HACC,
HOSPICE, prisons etc.
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
not fit into to the expectations of the sales person the customer may
not be treated with dignity or respect.
(a set of behaviors) that we find
useful in coping with our personal feelings and day to day situations.
described as the person's role (or function) within the activity that
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,
a set of strategies
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
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
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
activity and the setting, where these interactions are consistent and
can be defined and measured (in the
sense of comparison with other
), and have a particular function within
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
the term "behaviors", as a behavior describes a person's actions and
reactions, rather than the
intercourses that happen between members, and their relationships with
each other, within the
activity and the setting
in a particular activity is often predetermined by the type of
setting and the other members of the activity. In a classroom, for
(1): the type of activity is structured towards learning and the
skills and knowledge in applying the learning, (2): the setting is
(restricted to members that fulfil a set of criteria etc) and (3): the
of the members are Teacher (imparts the knowledge) - Students (learns
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
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,
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
Buildings also have different roles
or functions within society. The role of the building
describes the various ways buildings are used, and
various interactions that happen within the building. The function
the building is determined by these interactions and how they relate to
the members. The most
obvious of this is a "Function
that is designed to be
used for different functions. A concert hall has a particular role and
function within society. Communities, hospitals, classrooms,
and even a
have a different role and function according to the user and others
activity and the setting.
Is used to
describe the characteristics
of a community.
While the characteristics
different communities are different (are constructed
differently), they all refer to the same things. In the hope of getting
things in the right perspective, the term "social
been used to separate the
institution (the building) and the institutions of the building. The
institutions of the building are a part of
construction of the community of the
Most literature describes social policy as a form of social welfare.
This definition is a bit misleading in that there is the assumption
that there is a benefit for all members of society. We know that from
our own experiences that this is certainly not the case. Rather than a
form of social welfare, social policy is just a reflection of the
values an attitudes of the most influential people or groups within
that society. Social policy can also have both positive and negative
outcomes for different groups or communities within that society.
Social policy that is designed to protect one group can have disastrous
consequences for another group. A social policy designed to support a
minority group may disadvantage other groups in the reallocation of
wealth, skills and resources within society.
Social policy is not exclusive to a democratic society. All societies,
whether a dictatorial, socialist, communist or republic, have a social
policy that defines the society. Even an anarchy could be described as
a social policy of no social policy.
provides the foundation for current social policy in providing for the
needs of people with disability.
idea of SRV evolved from Normalisation. Normalisation argues
that people with high support needs deserve the same opportunities as
others in the normal activities of the society. Wolfensberger developed
a set of values, attitudes, and behaviours that people with high
support needs were subjected to by society. These values, attitudes,
and behaviours determined their treatment and status within society
(institutionalised/devalued). Wolfensberger argues that change can only
come about by
changing the values, attitudes, and behaviours of society, as well as
providing people with high support needs the skills and resources,
where they are able to participate in, and valued as members of society
(deinstitutionalised/valued) (see : labeling
as a social phenomenon
or a human society is (1) a group of people related to each other through
persistent relations such as social
and social networks. (2)
A large social grouping that shares the same geographical territory and
is subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural
expectations. Human societies are characterized by patterns of
relationships between individuals sharing a distinctive culture
and institutions. Without an
article, the term refers either to the entirety of humanity or a
contextually specific subset of people." (Wikipedia)
Society is an expression, idea or description that describes various
groups or communities relationships with each other. Society is not a
thing that we can see or touch. When we refer to society we are
actually referring to a group and it's relationship to the other
for example describes a group that is different
to other groups. "Social
and "social welfare"
all refer to a group of people who need specialised support
that is not available in the wider community. When we refer to "the socially accepted
, or a "socially
we are saying that a behaviour or idea is
mostly accepted by most groups or communities within a defined
location, setting or space.
all describe some characteristicts or behaviours that a
group or community has that is different to other groups or
communities. A society is generally the
largest group that contains other groups or communities that may or may
not share these same characteristicts. These groups could probally
thought of as minority groups. Within societies we see all sorts of
minority groups that are not about size, but because they have a
particular characteristic that does not fit into that society.
While a "society"
is often referred to as a "community"
and a "community"
referred to as a "society"
really different things. A community is a defined
physical, virtural or defined by the
shared characteristics of its members, space. Communities are the way
we socialise and share experiences, and societies are the shared
characteristicts of a set of communities (see Understanding communities
This confusion between a community and the society it is a part of has
led to other anomalies or paradoxes, the most misused expression is "Social living"
or "Living in the
. We don't live in society or a community. We live in
a city, town or a suburb. These days, the community of the place where
we live is no longer an important part of our lives.
or group of people that have an interest in, involved with or have some
connection with an activity, policy or process. Stake holders generally
have some personal interest in the outcome and how that outcome
advantages or disadvantages the stake holder.
A stake holder can be a person or people, family or relatives, a
service, an organisation or business, a government department or