Valorisation (SRV) and the concept of Deinstitutionalisation
Social Role Valorisation (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
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
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
... the model of care
... the amount of support the person has
... amount of restrictions the person has
... the setting of
... the structure of activities
... the person's relationships with others
... the formal/informal
the behaviours and expectations (institutions) of the administration
of the service provider.
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,
the behaviours and expectations of a
education or employment), where people with
high support needs have a better quality of life, we change the
institutions of the community.
Re-institutionalise then, is to bring about,
or normalise, a behaviour, activity or policy that supports
people within a setting, where that behaviour, activity or policy
part of the setting (institutionalised).
When providing the most
care for people with high support
1) The community is not
person is living, but where the
person participates, shares experiences and has valued relationships
2) People with high support needs (severe disability, aged etc.)
will always need support structures as a part of their lives.
3) The amount of participation in a community (living, education,
employment or recreation) is directly related to the skills and
resources of the person, and, the skills and resources of the
community that the person wishes to participate in.
4) Institutions are going to be around in one form or another
whether we like it or not, It is the way that they are used that is the
5) The institutions of a society towards a particular group
determine the way the group participates in society.
6) The institutions of a particular government department,
profession or service define the way the person is supported within
7) Facilities that support people with high support needs do not
need to be the nursing homes or prisons in the
that they are today, but can become warm inviting community places that
offer a range of services to the community, as well as be a part of the
wider community within that society.
8) People with high support needs are a minority group in our
society, and will have the same problems as other minority groups in
being a part of society.