Wednesday, April 07, 2010

On The Road Again

Another road trip!

We're only going for a couple of days but I'm looking forward to both the travel and the work. This time I'm not travelling to lecture, I'm travelling to provide a consultation regarding services for an individual. It's like being invited into someone's life and as such an incredible honour. I try to approach these thoughtfully and carefully.

It's times like these that remind me that human services, at it's best, involves a lot of introspection. That there needs to be a continued capacity to tap into what it is that makes us human, what it is that makes us all similar while at the same time maintaining a need to be entirely and completely unique. The twin statements of humanity: "We are all the same." "We are all unique." Both true. Yet a balance that can be hard to find when the recipient of care.

I have found that my consultations have changed as I've gotten older. Experience plays a roll, age and maturity do too. Regret for mistakes made results in emotive learning. But, recently, for me, the experience of being disabled has altered my work in profound ways.

The first time a 'worker' came into my home and attempted to touch me, without introduction and without permission. I learned.

The first time a 'worker' addressed questions to Joe and not to me. I learned.

The first time an assumption was made that I had a 'functioning level'. I learned.

The first time I waited an hour for an appointment and then had to sit on the other side of the desk while a personal phone call was made. I learned.

But alternately:

The first time I was provided service in respectful tones in a well paced manner - I really learned.

And every lesson was one about power and respect. About the fact that it's possible to share both. About the fact that sharing both is the only way to approach being ethical in service, one human uniquely to another who's humanity is shared.


MC Mobility said...

Dave - What personal, cultural, etc. traits do you think contribute to one "worker" treating you like a human and another treating you like you are absent? How do we raise a new generation of people who see past disability?

Interested in your thoughts...

Kristin said...

Dave, I am so very glad I found your blog through ICLW. I truly value the things I learn here and am so glad you make me think about how I interact with people.

M Terry Kirkpatrick said...

As always, Dave, your introspection and ability to communicate to others the thoughts you have and the experiences you have, makes for learning, as long as one has one's ears, and heart, open.