In the news today, there was a mother who killed her mentally handicapped daughter. She lives in SW Calgary, so it hits a little close to home. The daughter was 38 years old and the mother was 68. The mom was a single mom to her daughter. It seems that the mother was the sole caregiver of her daughter her whole life. Her neighbour described her as "very dedicated" when it came to her daughter. She made an effort for her to be included in public school and ultimately be seen as a "regular" person. The maximum is five years for taking a life who have a disability but his just happened so no decisions have been made yet.
Aside from all the political points that arise in this tragedy, I would like to focus on the heart of what's really happened here. If my mom looked after me like this mom, I would want my mom to euthanize me. Don't get me wrong, I would be grateful but I don't want rob my mom of anymore of her life. So my heart is broken because her mom's decision to single handedly take care of her, ultimately lead to her death. But on the other hand, it's not right to take another life because we don't know what the persons reality is, or what all goes on in their mind.
Being that she was a single mom, I'm curious if she lacked support in her own life. Maybe she found her whole purpose in being a mother and caring for her daughter. Perhaps some part of her couldn't deal with the guilt of sending her to a home or an institution. Without a doubt, her identity was wrapped up in her daughter. Who knows if she hit a wall and snapped, or if she eventually gave up. We never know.
This is the difficulty of caring for a person with significant disabilities. It does take a village and if there isn't one in place, you'll burn out. I wish parents didn't feel like they need to bear the burden so much. I wish there was someway we could tell our parents what to do if we can't talk. So they would know what to do and do the best thing for the child. Everybody needs help and we all want to help each other out. Having help with raising a child with disabilities should not make anyone feel ashamed or like they are a bad parent. It really is what is best for everyone in the end.
Here is a link to the article:
Thursday, April 28, 2016
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
Today I was speaking with a woman who has been living with a disability and trying to get out of a troubling situation. The woman was having difficulties expressing her independence around her family; specifically, she had been fighting with her family for years about who would support her and under what conditions. Her story was hard to hear, especially the parts where she would be stuck with an abusive support worker, not be believed by her loved ones, and be denied a say in her own support. Fighting tears, the woman said she felt she had nobody to talk to about her situation and very little hope for the next support worker.
This experience is just one example of a common problem for people with disabilities. In my own experience, I have found it very obvious when a support worker is working with me to receive a pay cheque, or when they sincerely care about the people that they work with. There is an alarming lack of quality support when people hire support workers who are merely working to clock in their hours; these people come in (rarely on time) and work the required hours, but spend little time getting to know who you truly are and what you care about. Additionally, they may be more inclined to do what they want to do, such as leaving to run their own errands for hours or making the person join them against their will. Quality support is important because it can lead to abusive or harmful situations for people who don't have 100% autonomy or say in their lives.
Instead, quality support first involves a support worker working for people with disabilities because they truly care about the people whom they work with. When this is present, support workers will go out of their way to get to know the person beyond their disability. They are supports, friends, family, and generally people who you can turn to whenever you need to. These people will go out of their way to make sure your goals and interests come before anything else. We definitely need more people like this in the social services sector to ensure people with disabilities are being advocated for and not oppressed.
Wednesday, April 6, 2016
This is video about accessibility issues in Montreal. It opened my eyes that I want to make a video like this in Calgary. I am planning on doing it very soon. Canada as a whole is a new and modern country. We have a lot of services in place for persons with disabilities. But when it comes to universal accessibility, I'm afraid we fall short. This is a problem that effects more than just wheelchair users. People with crutches, strollers, impaired movement in anyway is affected.
The reason this issue is close to my heart besides it affecting me personally is the fact that it's a basic human right. I will not be silent and act like it is ok that I cannot have access to my city and all the good things in it.