Tuesday, December 04, 2007


It's always an interesting question.

"What questions would you ask someone who is applying for a job to support you?"

I always look forward to this discussion. The questions often veer from the usual 'Where did you work before' to the highly specific 'Do you like Garth Brooks?' What's interesting, though, as part of the workshop for people with disabilities - they have tons of ideas for what they'd ask in an interview although precious few have ever had the opportunity to ever interview anyone.

A couple days ago, the discussion was happening and people were calling out questions they'd like to ask. Few asked questions about education or training but lots asked questions about attitudes, tastes and personality.

"Tell me a joke that you think is funny?" Was a question that came up in a workshop a couple of years ago that I've long thought was a very, very good question.

Now, in Leeds the group is thinking hard about the questions. I see a small hand come up from a woman with multiple disabilities. She had a huge smile and a willingness to participate and be part of the workshop. Sitting comfortably in her wheelchair, she'd been in a couple of role plays and put her had up often to participate.

She'd listened closely to the others as they came forward with questions that they'd ask. I could tell she was listening hard to the others and thinking hard for herself. I will never tire of watching those labled 'uneducable' by those who were unwilling to teach - learn. Finally, having come to a decision, her hand went up.

"OK," I said looking directly at her, "what is your question."

"Will you make me happy?"

Now, that IS the question isn't it?


Kei said...

That is such an important question!

I also want to tell you I love the idea of this workshop. Brilliant.

rickismom said...

That may be the question, but we have to know and internalize that NO ONE can make us HAPPY. That is a choice we make for ourselves.Or to phrase it more succulently,
"Will you aid or impede me in my efforts to be happy? "

Belinda said...

I recently heard a quote from a disapppointed boss--and I mean one of the real ones; he was one of the people we support. He is reported to have said, "I hate it when they come to work tired."

Those words haven't left me. I think of how many pressures there are in the job, how often we tire ourselves out outside of work, and sometimes people have to work several jobs to make ends meet.

In spite of everything, we owe it to our customers to arrive with our hearts, ears, hands and feet at their service and awake!

lina said...

Well put, and also kudos to you Belinda - that is also a good point.
Dave, first of your blogs that I have printed for my new team!

Tera said...

That workshop sounds really cool.

I think my question would be "Are you easily offended? If so, do you enjoy it?"

Have you read this post by Elizabeth McClung? It includes "5 reasons you DON'T want to be my home care worker."

Kimberley said...

I don't feel it is our job to make anyone else happy.

It is our job to support the person in finding and realizing the things that make them happy!!

Then supporting them to go after and access those things!!

Sounds so much easier than it actually is sometimes!!

What makes this the best but most diverse job in the world!!

Linda said...

You know... I do a lot of thinking and reading about educational issues, about assumptions about how learning happens and what constitutes appropriate education.

One of the most basic facts of the learning process is that people will not truly learn -- will not retain it, make it useful, glean meaning from it -- unless the subject matter is interesting and relevant to them. What I'm thinking after reading your post is that those without disabilities can perhaps fake it better when they're not really learning. If you *look* like you're paying attention, if you have the skill of being able to regurgitate what you've just been presented with, that kind of thing -- the teacher may take that as evidence that you are "educable", and conversely assume that absence of it is evidence that you are "uneducable".

It's such a huge mistake to make, and ultimately limiting to all people.