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The Forum > Article Comments > The importance of disabilty support workers > Comments

The importance of disabilty support workers : Comments

By Peter Gibilisco and Debbie Mackenzie, published 15/4/2008

Many in society do not value the disabled and equally do not value the disability support workers who help them achieve.

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Debbie and Peter:
Thankyou for continuing to "get the word out!" Your discussion of your fellow-humanity among all the complex tangles of Peter's disability, and your own respective professional developments, and our general social "drift", throws a light upon the complex tangle of our society's disability to approach ALL our neighbours in solidarity. Your paper highlights the weakness of an approach based on policies geared to compensating "deficits". Treating disablement as a "deficit" that requires some kind of compensation somehow blinds us to the deficit in our understanding of what it means to be human. It's as if the worthy ideals of the State Disability Plan's approach to individual life-styles are drowned out by the "noise" of the lifestyles of the "others". The ideal - "to enable people with a disability, to pursue their own individual lifestyles by encouraging others to respect, promote and safeguard their rights, by strengthening the disability support system" - sounds like a traffic policy that wants to give a special lane to very small cars, women with prams, bicycles, pedestrians and wheel chairs in the Burnley tunnel. Meanwhile the mad rush is accepted as normal. But your paper seems to challenge the mad rush - Debbie's "discovery" says something else. The situation for the disability support worker is not the mad rush of the tunnel but is more like the caring for a tree, recognising that some trees need to be staked and those in the garden (family, friends, universities, employers) need to learn a special patience so that the fruit WE all will benefit from will come, as it will with support and care. Thanks. Instead of focusing exclusively upon how to pull levers and engineer a bit of "movement", it's most important to learn how to see the buds when they appear and tend the plant as it grows. Thanks for the harvest.
Posted by Henrietta Dubb, Tuesday, 15 April 2008 11:46:22 AM
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Community Workers, workers who help to connect the community to people and people to community resources - at the same time as respecting the rights of different sectors within community, are under-resourced, under-supported and almost entirely misunderstood. Nowhere have I heard one word in the media about the “professional” contributions of ‘community workers’ and I suspect it is because the health professionals, the social welfare services and job-contractors along, with local councils and administration of all governments, do not truly understand the connectivity of their role here.

I just adored the learning disclosure, the honesty of Debbie’s experience. I thank you Debbie. I am dammed proud of you Mr Peter Gibilisco. I am able to feel good when the efforts of people with your courage, work so hard, to “connect-the-dots to flag knowledge about the obvious barriers.

There is such poor understanding on the most basic life-style issues that it is the combination of sharing and exchanging our knowledge that will lead to any break-through, within the Health - Wide - Social Service - Integrative - Economic Australian Government system.

The tug-a-war between the ‘three-way professional’ health system with-(against?) ‘the experts who are within community’ needs to stop. We need to “share servicing provisions” through a broader approach, at a community level. We need to “employ” the consumers who are experiencing many of the socio-economic issues, that are presently being sidelined by middle-class “professionals” within health/social services, and address these concerns; through a dynamic Australian workforce wherever, possible. This is a key economic and strategic model for governance and it is a economic-community-based-infrastructure - it is called nation building.

Too many people are being abused, patronised, jailed, feed pills, disengaged… because Australia refuses to understand that civic socio-economic-health needs of it’s people. Families are being pressured, lives are being lost, our youth and elderly stripped of their rights, as the nation resisting learning more about how to problem solve.

More than any other consumer group I admire the organization of work (over popularity-status-+-politics) being achieved in the national and international forum of Disabilities.

Keep Up the Good Work.
Posted by miacat, Tuesday, 15 April 2008 7:48:51 PM
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Great work.

Support workers for the disabled are expensive. The mentally ill - one group of disabled are so expensive to support Government in NSW has placed most of them in prison. It's cheaper this way than having case workers support them in the community. Its not just government that have done this, they have had the support of the police, councils, Health Department, and the community that don't like to see mad people on the streets or living next to them. Better to have them all locked up.

The physically disabled, are tolerated more because they can vote and write critical letters to newspapers and parliamentarians complaining about stuff. You can't just sweep them into closed institutions to be warehoused until they die as easily as the mentally ill.

Australia's record on treatment of the disabled is astoundingly horrible. There is a blanket silence on the institionalised abuse of the disabled not because there is no information about it - there is tons of evidence but no one is listening - they don't care. I don't think their stories will ever be heard. The country does not want to listen. Government doesn't have the money to spend. It's all too hard. There are a few lucky ones supported by the funding of pilot programs. There are the tireless carers working themselves into early graves but in the end we are a callous society.
Posted by Barfenzie, Friday, 25 April 2008 12:34:29 AM
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