reflections related to disability advocacy, family and (needed) cultural change
Sunday, September 07, 2008
In the Funnies: Dilbert and Consumer-driven Services
Oh my goodness, I saw this in the paper this morning and I thought it was perfect!
This cartoon is set in an office, and I think that most, if not all, workers have dealt with this sort of gatekeeping at some point.
In fact, I think every system that has ever existed has this problem: once a system BECOMES a system its mission becomes 'staying in business' which means protecting 'the way we do things.'
Haven't you seen this in businesses, schools, clubs, governments, service organizations, and churches? Even families are not immune sometimes.
And, unless systems are very intentional, all proposals become perceived as threats. Even ideas and innovations that could bring about improvements for the systems themselves meet with suspicion, resistance and sometimes all-out rejection.
Many organizations develop a real hardening of the boundaries between them and everything else--this hardening of membranes is dangerous. Organizations, like organisms, require some semi-permeability of their membranes in order for the bad to leave and good things like nutrition to get in. When membranes lose their permeability, organisms die--so do organizations.
(I put that in for my kids who tell me they will NEVER use what they learned in science class!)
This problem is compounded when you are a person with a disability or family member who is ALWAYS in the proposing position. We are always asking everyone to individualize their services to meet our needs... and even when doing so will cost them less or make them better at what they do, our ideas are not always welcomed.
I don't know what the answer is. I know that I want consumer-based everything for my daughter. I want to avoid systems.
I do not want my daughter's life to be made of whatever program A or B or C has (or doesn't allow.)
I don't want her to be 'bulked' for education, employment or anything else.
I want to find services the way I buy groceries: cereal made by a couple of different companies, tea from another, canned goods from whoever has the best price, and fresh produce from the farmers' market at the church around the corner from my house.
People with disabilities employ a huge portion of the education, healthcare and service industries, yet these industries often control them.
I am the mother of three, wife of one. I am a Partners in Policymaking graduate and a committed disability advocate. I want to catch up on my scrapbooking, learn more about art-journaling, get my house in order, read all the books I have set aside to read and change the world--not necessarily in that order. The opinions in this blog are my own and not those of any of employers.