Over theyears, movements in favour of disabled people rights started emerging.
Pushedmainly by parents, the education system started embracing inclusion. The set upof the disability studies course in University is also a step in the right direction,enabling disabled persons to pursue their own research. As the childrenwho have been included in main stream education become adults, they are takingover the battle that their parents mainly fought for them and making theirvoices heard as they realise that self advocacy can be their biggest weaponagainst oppression. Disabled people are also realising that their talents maylie within the Arts. This is manifested with emerging companies that show casetheir talents, like the local drama troupe, Open Doors. Another important emerging factor is the philosophy ofindependent living, or CILs.
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The disabled persons themselves, usually run independent livingconcepts, include all types of disabilities to avoid segregation between thedisabilities themselves and embrace the concepts of Universal Design. Thisappears to fit well within Bhattacharyya’s conceptualization of communitydevelopment as the promotion of solidarity and agency through self-help,felt-needs, and participation (Bhattacharyya, 2004). This model also moves awayfrom the more traditional NGO’s and organizations that are run and managed by non-disabledpersons. These centres also assist people to move out of institutions and areadvocates for civil rights and accessible transportation that can be anotherform of oppression for disabled persons. Another important contribution resultingfrom these communities could be towards helping to create liveable communitiesfor the local population as it ages, by drawing on their expertise in adaptedliving. (O’Day, Bonnie 2006)I also believe however, that organizations andinstitutions can overcome this oppression .
In reading up literature for this assignment, I came upon an interestingmodel emerging in China, where the trend is focusing on merging the two mainplayers in disability issues, namely the government agencies which weretraditional the only policy makers, and various disabled persons’ self help organizationscalled DPO’s. This alliance is promoting change in both policies and socialadvocacy. (Xintong Zhao, Chao Zhang, 2018) Otherorganizations concentrate on empowering disabled people by providing legalhelp. Even though disable people know their needs better then anyone else, theymight not know their legal rights or how to use them. Further disadvantagingthis situation is the imbalance between them and their opponents, usually largeemployment firms, or institution, like an agency, which has lawyers andmultiple resources. Traditionally, social work comes from the school ofsociological thought.
Though meaning well, it sometimes fails to connect withthe amount of oppression that disabled people feel. The vocabulary used, suchas ‘care’, ‘services’, ‘allowances’ are also synonymous with the benevolentwelfare state and system and this might leave the social worker distanced fromthe reality disabled people actually experience. (Roulstone, Alan 2006).
Thereis more need for disability studies professionals to engage with social workersand social policy makers to advocate the rights of disabled persons, even moreso if these professionals are disabled themselves.In her research,says “Disability scholars and activists argue that ‘care’ is a complex form ofoppression and reject it as a term and concept. The possibility of salvagingcare from its oppressive medical and charitable legacies is through a discussion of personal assistance. (Kelly, 2011).She further continues to highlight this statement giving the example of Socialworkers who need to rethink the services they provide in light of recentlegislation changes and the growing need for self-advocacy. They need toconsider practice changes which give more say to the care receiver and realisethat the people in their care might really know what is best for them .One hasalso to consider whether a disabled client might actually want to liaise with adisabled counsellor, as many disabled persons find that they have to educatetheir counsellor about what it means for them to live in a disabling society (Withers,1996).