This is one of three articles on this topic. The other articles are entitled
“Presume Competence: Challenging Conventional Wisdom about People with Disabilities” and “Eliminating the Presumed Incompetent Paradigm.”
It’s 1990. I’m the mother of Benjamin, a three-year-old with a disability, and a participant in the extraordinary Partners in Policymaking leadership development program. I’m also a board member of a local cerebral palsy association (CPA). In Partners, I’m learning awesome best practices about inclusion, employment, and other issues related to people with disabilities. But as a CPA board member, I’m a novice regarding the realities of Disability World.
At my first CPA board meeting, staff members present their quarterly reports. When the Transportation Director gives his report, I can’t comprehend what I’m hearing. He describes a “serious” issue and asks for help: while picking up “clients” at nursing homes for their weekly “outing” (Wednesday-Night-Bowling), several people were not able to go because the nursing home staff had not dressed them to go out, so what can he do to make sure this doesn’t happen again? A cacophony of voices collides with suggestions.
My neophyte mind is spinning with questions. What are people with cerebral palsy doing in a nursing home? How old are they? Do they only leave the nursing home to go bowling? What if they don’t like to bowl? Click here to continue.
Why don’t disability organizations spend more time and energy focused on inclusion, interdependence, the Presumption of Competence, and other beliefs that can lead people with disabilities and their families out of the darkness and into the light?
Do Disability Organizations Presume Competence?
New Ways of Thinking and Revolutionary Common Sense