I set the criteria at 10.
I reached it a couple days ago.
You see with the abuse prevention trainings, I offer to people with disabilities, I get a unique opportunity. I get to sit in the room, up near the front, and watch people arrive. I don't sit right at the lecture desk, that would give too much away. I sit off to the side. Many of the front line staff who bring people in for the training, don't know I'm the presenter, many think I'm another client in the agency. That's OK with me, I get a look at service, unsupervised. Well, service is always supervised by those in care, that that's an almost universally unacknowledged form of supervision isn't it? So, staff are doing what they are doing when they think no one's watching. Well, there is always someone watching, but I guess here, the idea is someone up higher in the 'higher-archy'. So, I get the real thing.
When I started twenty years ago, many people were brought in by angry staff (they aren't allowed to stay) and they'd be pointing to chairs and saying, 'Sit there,' then they'd issue a command or two, 'take off your coat' 'don't slouch' and then they'd warn them, 'you'd better be good and participate.' Then they'd leave. Now, of course, not all were like that, but an uncomfortable majority was. Wow.
So I decided that I'd have me a little celebration when I'd run 10 sessions in a row with no one being ordered to sit in any chair, where conversations would replace demands and where staff were by and large comfortable with their role and with who left and who stayed.
It's been many years since the very first time I had that happen. It was in England, on one of my trips there. The next time was in California, on a trip there. But there was a long time between these two firsts. As time passed, as the approaches to service slowly changed, the number of sessions wherein power was not abused, commanding voices were not used, and staff were pleased, not insulted, that they couldn't attend, started to increase. Twice in the last two years I got up to 8 in a row with fully positive interactions.
Then a few weeks ago, (I'm not counting the train the trainer ones as there are a lot of staff in the room and those bringing people in are very much aware of who is there from the 'higher-archy' and behave accordingly.) But in my last session with people with disabilities, a typical session, with Joe and I and them. It happened. And it happened for the 10th time running.
It took over 20 years for this achievement to happen, but I think it's significant. It means that people are beginning to understand the nature of the relationship they have with those in care and a respect for the job of respecting those in care.
and I say again: