A Kudos for Making Those Tough Subjective Decisions in Supports
A wise person told me that to stay silent on an issue you disagree with is to condone it.
Support agencies do an incredible job of voicing values. You form a major battalion in the army of advocates that support disability rights. You won’t find a support agency that is silent on the topic of institutionalization, assisted suicide, sexual abuse, employment discrimination and ableism.
You constantly speak up for support values. You juggle your our own view of ethical supports with those of the person you are supporting, their families, and their friends. Those views may not align or even be on the same continent when it comes to a support conflict. Anyone who’s ever done an inclusion/person centered MAP or PATH can attest to this. Bravo and brava to you all. It’s not an easy job!
I know I’m not alone when I say it can be a lonely road championing support values. Whether it’s a polarizing issue or a small matter. It takes a lot of courage to speak up, more so when it’s on behalf of another person. Especially when the right choice requires your subjective judgement.
Back in the day a friend of mine supported a man who received round the clock support and enjoyed an evening beer occasionally. He was not a young man, more the established working gentlemen. However, his mother had a different view of things. She couldn’t see her son drinking alcohol and was appalled that his support agency would ‘allow’ this kind of behaviour.
My friend was in a very difficult position. She completely understood how a mother could disapprove of drinking. She also knew that the man she supported enjoyed those beers, was of legal age to drink, did so in his own home, his behaviour was not addictive or in anyway abusive to himself or others, and used his own funds to pay for said beers. It was his choice and her job to support his independance.
Her championing of the person’s right to choose for himself was very hard but she made the right choice. She respected his right to have a beer without judgement and was firm in that stance. He wasn’t hurting himself, it wasn’t illegal, and it wasn’t immoral. Even if the person’s mom disagreed.
It is often a support responsibility to manage these types of conversations. Whether it’s sex, alcohol, lifestyle choice, etc. Most people learn on the job how to manage these kinds of situations. Some are lucky enough to have incredible mentors. Or some are like me, we read a lot.
A book I found very helpful when discussing difficult, charged conversations where value’s are at odd’s is Mary Gentile’s Giving Voice to Values. It gives practical, concrete advice on how to break down common ethical arguments that can arise between people.
For the plucky reader’s who got this far, I have one copy up for grabs. All commenters on this post are eligible. I will draw for the winner Wednesday, December 10th. Only the winner will be contacted. Good luck!
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