Monday, September 06, 2010

Those hateful antichoice Christians: Wolf Wolfensberger and Social Role Valorization

"Social Role Valorization (SRV) is set of approaches designed to enable devalued people in society to experience a Good Life. These approaches are best used by persons who clearly believe that devaluation of a party is wrong, and who are prepared to work to overcome this. SRV's many strategies, derived from practical experience and from what research has revealed, is to help devalued people achieve valued social roles. It finds that this is the most powerful way to work against devaluation and its negative effects, and provides a wide variety of techniques and approaches for doing so."

  • Wolf Wolfensberger: DR WOLF WOLFENSBERGER spearheaded the Normalization reform movement, first in the USA and in Canada where he was a visiting scholar with the National Institute on Mental Retardation, and continued to work closely with parent groups. .... Much of Dr. Wolfensberger's work has been concerned with services to people with developmental disabilities and their families. .... He is the originator of the Citizen Advocacy concept, and the author of Social Role Valorization theory.

    In recent years, Dr. Wolfensberger has become increasingly concerned with the decline in functionality of service systems, and the need to emphasise personal relationships between valued and devalued people. He also actively advocates against society's growing willingness to abbreviate the lives of unwanted devalued groups, including the unborn, new-borns with disabilities, the chronically ill, homeless and elderly people. He has presented workshops in eleven countries.

    Dr Wolfensberger's work was recognised by the magazine 'Exceptional Parent' as one of the great 7 contributions to the lives of people with disabilities, along with Salk and the polio vaccine, braille, Americans with Disabilities Act and the wheelchair. ....

    In today's world the concept that ALL people should have the same rights and civil liberties and the same access to everyday living conditions and circumstances as everyone else, regardless of disabilities either physical or cognitive, seems a forgone conclusion. ....

    .... Wolfensberger's work recognizes that society often tends to label groups of people as fundamentally "different." This label often means that society looks at these as having less value as everyone else. .... And from this foundation, the
    natural next step is that advocates can seek to fight, debunk, and counteract these societal pigeonholes. ....

  • Susan Thomas: SUSAN THOMAS has been an associate of the Training Institute for many years and holds degrees in psychology and special education. She is author of several articles on Normalization and Social Role Valorization and is co-author, with Professor Wolfensberger, of PASSING and other publications. Ms Thomas has also worked for many years in voluntary, informal service to people with disabilities, and poor and homeless people.

  • Guy Caruso: Guy has been an international consultant since 1981 and involved with Normalization and SRV work since 1974. .... Guy has worked in a number of human service settings over the years - institutional, hospital, residential, recreational, vocational, educational, and counseling. In addition, Guy worked in private rehabilitation helping injured workers to find suitable employment. He had also been President and served on the Board of L'Arche Syracuse for 12 years, an international community for people with and without disabilities. He has been involved as an advocate, friend, and ally of Citizen Advocacy in New York, New England, and Pennsylvania, and has led CAPE evaluations of citizen advocacy programs. Guy is a facilitator for personal futures planning.He has worked in Pennsylvania on a number of statewide initiatives providing values related training, technical assistance to counties moving from program to person directed services, self determination, leadership development, and presently independent comsumer monitoring of services. Also, Guy speaks at Partners in Policy Making events in ten states. In addition, he has been involved in statewide planning in both Pennsylvania and Louisiana.

  • Peter Millier: PETER MILLIER is a foundation member of Training and Evaluation for Change (TEC) in South Australia. .... Peter has worked in human services for 30 years in Australia and New Zealand. From 1982 until 1989 he was Director of Client Services for the Intellectual Disability Service Council in South Australia. .... He is also part of a network of parents and advocates working with families for the inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities in regular classrooms and in other community activities such as work and recreation. Peter is a member of the management committee of Citizen Advocacy North East in Adelaide. He works regularly with people in various Citizen Advocacy programs around Australia.

    It is largely because of the work of these people and others that people with Down Syndrome are now working in jobs in the community instead of being warehoused in institutions. Wolfensberger looked at those institutions and instead of hopping on the "kill the victims" mentality of abortion and euthanasia, he decided that it was the institutions that needed to die. And I'm very proud to have been a part of that.
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