"There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things."

~ Niccolo Machiavelli, historian and writer

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants ...

Trolling through FaceBook today (because I really have nothing else to do, right?!), I was noticing some of my American friends posting their thoughts on the debt they owe to those who came before them and made the ultimate sacrifice.

Which, I honour and respect that, it's just that we tend to save those thoughts for a different day ...

However, it did get me thinking about how much we, as parents, owe to those who came before us. How both we and our children stand on their shoulders.

Pretty much any advance made in the world of disabilities, whether we look to the US, across Canada or right here in Nova Scotia came about through the sheer work, determination, dedication and (never to be forgotten) passion of those parents.

Think about it ... in the US, we need only to look at IDEA; in Canada we could look at the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and elsewhere; here in Nova Scotia, I need only look almost literally across the street from my home to see the Flowercart. I can only presume that other sheltered workshops throughout the Province came about through a similar process. Please understand that I'm not suggesting that any of these concepts (particularly sheltered workshops) couldn't be improved on, just that, at the time, they were a giant step forward for the disability community.

It's true, I have had (and shared) such thoughts on many occasions, but what makes this time different perhaps are the four parent-inspired and created innovations I am aware of in my own back yard - both CAPRE and the Alexander Society for Inclusive Arts have been around for many, many years; Kaleidoscope is relatively new; and Rowan's Room Respite and Developmental Centre is pretty much brand new. I am proud to personally know all the families that started these endeavors and of the fact that all four are happening right here, in my Annapolis Valley.

If I may, I am particularly proud (at the moment) of Elizabeth Mason Squires for taking on this huge venture:
The Skills to Navigate
It’s not about fitting in. It’s about giving them the skills and tools to better navigate a world that doesn’t always understand or accept differences. It’s about being who they are but giving them the power to control their understanding of unfamiliar situations and differences, as well as the ability to master their own environment.
Be it with respect to education, day programming, leisure, housing or any other of the myriad of issues facing our communities, the facts remain the same - it so often takes highly-motivated parents and families desperate to find something useful and workable for their family members to create the next bridge forward, to the benefit of so many.

May we never forget that we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. But equally important, may we never forget our corresponding duty to make life better for future generations.



And while we're doing that, please don't forget to check out the above organizations.

Monday, May 8, 2017

NEWS RELEASE: DISABILITY RIGHTS COALITION

UPCOMING PROVINCIAL ELECTION

We are asking you to take action in your home communities to support and address issues relating to individuals with disabilities and their families.  We share with you our latest News Release and ask you to also share/post it on your websites/facebook & tweet away...

Contact your local candidate and ask them what their position is on the "Transformation Process"...or attend a candidates meeting...

Contact local media in your area to see whether a story could be done on these issues pertaining to the Transformation and how it relates in your community.

DRC have asked for meetings with Premier McNeil & Opposition party leaders to highlight our concerns & the issues facing our community.  This is a chance to have your voices heard.

Ask other family & community members to support you in your efforts!

NEWS RELEASE DISABILITY RIGHTS COALITION

Since 2014 the Liberal government stalls Human Rights Complaint that was filed jointly with three individual complainants, the Disability Rights Coalition(DRC) and the Canadian Elizabeth Fry Society.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

My Favourite Time of the Year ... Election Time!

Long time, no speak. My apologies for that.

But look at what I found today ...
Shaping the future of NOVA SCOTIA’S DISABILITY SUPPORT PROGRAM Choice and Inclusion: Implementation Plan
Reading through it, it occurred to me that they design these things so that anyone outside the disability community who happens to stumble across it will flip through it and think, "Good job, guys. Look at us go".

Unfortunately, if you happen to be someone who has actually walked (or wheeled) their way through this world, you might want to take a Valium (or some other nervous system calming agent) before trying to read it.

If I may ... a few examples, perhaps?

Oh look, they are going to take a new approach in providing services. How special.
A New Approach
Nova Scotians with disabilities have the same rights as everyone. We all deserve to live our lives as independently as possible. Each of us has a right to be full participants in society.

That means full social and economic inclusion, and the opportunity to live with dignity and choice. A person-directed, accessible and flexible support system for persons with disabilities will focus on key areas of action: • Increasing community-based living with social and economic inclusion; • Modernizing services and programs based on choice, flexibility and person-directed planning; and, • Reducing reliance on long term larger facilities. 
Too bad that promise was first made four year ago, when this government came to power. You might remember that - it was when the Liberals first adopted the NDP plan in the middle of our last election campaign.

Update the legislation? You mean the Homes for Special Care Act, first passed in the 1970s? That would be awesome, wouldn't it?
Updated Legislation
New legislation to replace the Homes for Special Care Act will ensure a person-directed approach to service delivery and emphasize helping people live in their own homes and communities. The legislation will help establish a range of services, supports and funding, while protecting the rights of individuals with disabilities so they can access government services and programs. 
Too bad that promise was made four year ago, too. And still not a hint of the legislation, let alone the regulations that would have to follow (often where the "meat" of the law lives).*

Should I go on? Just a few more thoughts, I promise.

What exactly are we to "reimagine" these "facilities" as?
Reimagine Residential Facilities
Under a new delivery system, facilities will no longer be used as long term residences. Instead, they may be adapted and reinvented in keeping with the principles of the transformation. The province will no longer fund the expansion of the old model of support which includes Regional Rehabilitation Centres (RRC) and Adult Residential Centres (ARC). This will not happen overnight. As we move away from the old model, there will be a focus on community-based residential living options. 
And when, exactly, will referrals actually stop? Just how long can a "temporary" placement in one of these institutions last?

Sorry, I didn't quite catch that ... how many years was that?

All right, all right. I hear you.

I will leave it to you to peruse the rest at your leisure.

But before you go, anyone interested in a little history on the Roadmap?