Friday, November 24, 2017

Frontline Issue 97

Inclusion Ireland News

Inclusion Ireland and Down Syndrome Ireland marked the International Day of Persons with Disabilities in style by hosting two performances of the Blue Teapot production of Sanctuary, to packed audiences at Dublin’s Liberty Hall Theatre on 3 December 2014. The audience was treated to a double bill: a presentation by the Inclusion Ireland self-advocacy group, followed by the Sanctuary play. The powerful presentation was: ‘Change the law on relationships for people with disabilities – we have a right to have intimate relationships.’ The Inclusion Ireland self-advocacy subcommittee has nine members. Brian Hayes spoke first and said; ‘We are here today to celebrate the international day for people with disabilities. Thank you so much for coming today and helping us to celebrate. We hope today will bring some change to people’s lives so people have more confidence in themselves to demand equal rights and the freedom of having a relationship of their choice.

OLDER PEOPLE WITH A LEARNING DISABILITY: ARE THERE FAMILY-FRIENDLY OPTIONS IN CARE DELIVERY?

Watchman (2014) summarises some of the dilemmas encountered when making decisions about the care of people with learning disability and dementia. In this article I will discuss older people with a learning disability with and without dementia. Referrals to generic services such as nursing homes can also take place when the individual’s physical health needs exceed the capacity of the current care giver(s), regardless of the diagnosis.

CHANGING PLACES IRELAND

Changing Places toilets are different to standard disabled toilets; they include extra features such as hoists and changing benches, have enough space and provide a safe and clean environment for the user. The Changing Places campaign in the UK has helped to transform the lives of persons with disabilities and their families with the introduction of over 750 fully accessible toilet facilities across the United Kingdom (including Northern Ireland) since its inception in 2007. The UK Changing Places consortium works together to support the rights of people with profound and multiple learning disabilities to access their community. Consortium members include the Centre for Accessible Environment, PAMIS, Mencap, Nottingham City Council, Dumfries & Galloway Council and the Scottish government. A Changing Places campaign has also been launched in Australia. Sadly, the Republic of Ireland does not currently have any registered Changing Places facilities...

THE ECONOMIC COSTS OF DISABILITY FOR FAMILIES

In a much-cited speech to the World Bank in 2004, the Nobel Prize winning economist Amartya Sen made a distinction between two types of economic costs, or what he called ‘handicaps’, that tend to be associated with disability (Sen 2004). First, according to Sen, individuals with disabilities face lower human capital accumulation (e.g. education) possibilities, are less likely to be employed, and even if employed are likely to have lower earnings. This he called an ‘earnings handicap’. Second, because individuals with disabilities tend to have extra needs, they face greater difficulties in achieving economic well-being from a given level of resources, i.e. they face what Sen called a ‘conversion handicap’. Together these two types of economic costs have very significant implications for the economic situation of the disabled population and their families. In this context, this article reviews the evidence on these costs in Ireland and discusses their implications for poverty, deprivation, economic hardship and social exclusion. It also sets out some thoughts on an appropriate public policy response...

CREATING COMMUNITY AND ENJOYING LIFE: THE STORY OF FIONNATHAN PRODUCTIONS

To introduce ourselves, Fionnathan comes from Fionn and Jonathan. Fionn is a young man who completed secondary school this year in County Clare, and Jonathan is his father. The two of us decided to set up this project when we met with adverse circumstances. The mainstream secondary school had made a decision to exclude Fionn halfway through his first year of the Leaving Cert Applied programme. They were wrong to do this, and we proved as much, winning an appeal to have him reinstated. But the process took four months, during which his mother and father (both trained teachers) home-schooled him. His mother taught the core subjects, which left his father the fun job: helping him to explore and develop what he loved...

A Bitter Sweet Ending: Against all the Odds

Paul is a 47-year-old non-verbal man. As his sister, three-and-a-half years younger, I have became his voice over time. Together we took a journey, for Paul to be heard and to be seen for more than just his labels. His life journey shows his strength to survive in any situation. Paul went to a special school in Cork because he wasn’t able to fit into the mainstream sector. But teachers didn’t understand him; he was the bold child who got bored easily and caused disruption in the classroom...

Pen & Palette: Book Review

Pen & Palette is a book of poetry and paintings by people with intellectual disabilities who are past and present students on the Certificate in Contemporary Living Course at the National Institute for Intellectual Disability (NIID) in Trinity College Dublin...

James’ Story: A Parent’s Perspective

In April 2005, I was excited to learn I was expecting my first baby. My road to parenthood had begun. This journey was to be filled with excitement, anticipation and wonder, and greeted with many expectations. On 5 January 2006, I gave birth to my gorgeous son James, and in that moment fuelled with emotion, all my dreams came true. From day dot, you are anticipating every new day as an adventure, one filled with many firsts—first eye contact, first smile first time to recognise hands, fingers toes and so on...

SUPPORT FOR FAMILIES: BUILDING ON SUCCESS

Throughout the world, people with intellectual disabilities are dependent on family carers. This is especially so in childhood, but in most countries their care-giving extends well into adulthood and often for a lifetime. What is remarkable is the exemplary care that most families provide to their much-loved relatives despite having little prior experience of disability or any formal training. They have to be available 24/7, often with few breaks and irrespective of the toil it takes on their emotional well-being and financial resources. They are the unsung heroes in creating better lives for Irish people with disabilities and yet I fear that their enormous contribution is taken for granted as health and social care services become more professionalised...