A fortnight ago I had the pleasure and honour of doing a presentation on Working With Clients With Disabilities at a friend’s workplace for their team day. When I was approached I was very hesitant in fact I gave so many excuses as to why I could not do it and instead recommended other people to do the presentation. The people I had recommended did not respond to the invitation so in the end I had to do the presentation. Oh boy am I glad I did the presentation because it was a lot of fun, there was great conversation and my friend received lots of positive feedback about my presentation. Below are the notes from the presentation.
Which approach to use?
Person Centred Approach.
A person centred approach keeps the person with a disability at the centre of the decision making process. This approach is about making sure the person with a disability is given the opportunity to make decisions that relate to their life. It is an ongoing approach which involves listening, thinking together, coaching, sharing ideas with the person with a disability and seeking feedback to ensure they are satisfied. The aim is to understand each individual’s needs and wants according to their disability and their life goals.
When working with clients with disabilities it is important to note
Clients with disabilities have individual agency.
- PWDS are capable of making their own choices and decisions. No-one has to influence these choices and decisions. Give them the room to do so.
- Clinicians or guardians of people with disabilities should never assume that just because the person has a disability, they cannot choose what they want or make sounds decisions about their lives.
- People with disabilities are the experts of their lives.
- They know their bodies more than any medical doctor could.
- They know what they are capable and incapable of doing.
Is it empowering or enabling their disability?
- When coming up with treatment plans or programs, it is imperative to ask if the plan will empower the person or further disable them?
- Is it empowering or will it continue to make the person with a disability dependent on other people?
Is it accessible?
- Is the treatment plan accessible for the individual person?
- Eg will the person have to walk long distances to access public transport?
- Eg is the housing accessible?
Working with people with disabilities should never be a difficult task as long as the care worker puts the client at the centre of the decision making process.
People with disabilities are the experts of their lives.