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Valued roles or Valued relationships


The good life

Valued roles

Social Role Valorisation (SRV)

Valued relationships

Building values and relationships

Building networks and relationships

Looking forward to community living

The good life:  (Top)
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 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. By providing each community with the skills and resources and valued roles that include people with high support needs, these people have an opportunity to participate in activities, share experiences with others and become valued members of each community.

"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).

Valued roles:  (Top)
The value of a persons role is purely subjective when applied to different settings and activities in different communities. We all have different roles depending on what we are doing, where we are doing it and who we are doing it with, and therefore the person's role takes on different meanings within each community that the person is participating in. Roles are like the clothes we wear. Each activity requires a different outfit (both literally and figuratively). The example of actors in a play also shows us that roles are learned behaviours. We all are conditioned to behave a certain way (we learn our lines from the moment of birth) according to the activity, setting and the expectations of others within the activity and setting i.e.: we don't wear our bathers to a formal dinner etc. It could also be argued that communities have become conditioned in behaving a certain way when looking after devalued people (in the historical sense, as well as in society today) (Removing the barriers to community participation and inclusion). All members are expected to behave according to their role within the setting. If a person’s role is to be submissive, then, when the person takes on a more active role, the person may be punished.

Social Role Valorisation (SRV):  (Top)
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 says (loose interpretation), that by arranging (changing or adapting) physical and social conditions of society at any level, so that devalued people are included, in such a way that their role is positively valued by all members of society, devalued people have a greater opportunity to receive the good things in life. (Joe Osburn: An Overview of Social Role Valorization Theory)

The implications of the above has meant that:
... institutions are bad evil places
... devalued people are institutionalised and our goal is to de-institutionalise them
... the principles of SRV can be automatically applied to any activity or setting so that devalued people are positively valued
... people who have a valued role in society automatically become members of the community in which they are placed
... devalued people are automatically empowered

Another way to think of the above is: "By arranging (changing or adapting) physical and social conditions of all groups, clubs, organisations and communities within society, where ALL members are positively valued, and have positively valued roles, in such a way that all members of the groups, clubs, organisations and communities within society receive the good things in life.

I feel that the SRV needs to be reformulated to include:
All members of all communities, clubs and groups within society.
Where they are all valued, and have a valued role in participating in each community (club, group or organisation) within society,
that is most appropriate to their own needs, as well as the needs of each community in which they participate,
where the outcomes are positively valued by ALL members of the community, as well as other communities that it is a part of.

Valued relationships:  (Top)
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.

Building values and relationships:  (Top)
Values and relationships are more than the skills or resources that we have. They are about caring and sharing. They are about feelings and experiences with each other. They are about understanding each other and looking past any differences we may have.

Nigel Brooks (Building Strong Relationships - Four Stages of Development, Four Phases of Connection) suggests there are 4 stages in a business relationship:
* Formation - getting to know each other
* Divergence - differing opinions, disagreement, and doubt
* Convergence - reconcilement, acceptance, and agreement
* Association - performing collaboratively or cooperatively
However the relationship can migrate to back to the divergence phase at any time.

Building blocks towards building values and relationships
... Trust
... Communication
... Respect for the other person
... Understanding the other person's point of view
... Sharing experiences
... Patience
... Acceptance
... Willingness
... Genuineness
... Assertive
... Diplomatic

Building networks and relationships:  (Top)
There is no magic formula, things do not mysteriously happen. Community participation and inclusion is about the person and the community and building networks and relationships, and supporting those networks and relationships, where the person participates in and is a part of that community.

Community access
Its no good being a part of a community when you can't access the community.
Communication between members
Its no good being a part of a community when you can't communicate with others, or they can't communicate with you.
Community presence
Build a profile of yourself within the community so that others know you and have the opportunity to find some common interests.
Community participation
Understand the community. What are the activities, values etc. of the community. Find some ways where your involvement contributes to the community.

Above all else
Be yourself. Be genuine, honest. If your are not accepted in the community, then that community is not for you.
Be careful. By understanding the community and its members, we have the opportunity to avoid communities and situations that are not desirable.

People who do not have the skills and resources to build and maintain their networks are disadvantaged in that they no not have the opportunity to become a part of any community.

SRV is an important strategy in developing networks and relationships.
Often the person needs some training in some skills (life skills etc.) so the person can participate.
Community development. By encouraging the community through various strategies (ownership, providing the skills and resources, providing a valued role for the members in supporting the person etc.)

A good place to start is with a Local Community Group that has connections with various local clubs and social groups. Strategies can be found where a person can be introduced into the particular activity that most suits his/her needs.

Looking forward to community living:  (Top)
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.

... The family in the community
The values of community start in the home where children have valued roles in supporting others at school, sport or any other community that they participate in.
... The living community
The right to accommodation that most suits the persons needs, and access to community activities and facilities.
... The recreation community
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 education community
The right to the development of skills and knowledge towards a more active and productive engagement with others within the wider community.
... The employment community
The right to a more meaningful and productive life.
... The human services community
The right to services that promote and support the needs of people becomming valued as a part of each community that they participate in.
(See Community valued roles and Social Role Valorisation)

When providing the most appropriate care for people with high support needs ...
1) The community is not where the person is living, but where the person participates, shares experiences and has valued relationships with others.
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 problem.
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, organisation, profession or service define the way the person is supported within that society.
7) Facilities that support people with high support needs do not need to be the nursing homes or prisons in the sense 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.

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