Saturday, March 14, 2009

More about Institutions



The conversations going on around the troubles in institutions in Texas this week have interested me.

One of my best friends lives in Texas and has spent the better part of this week calling her legislators about this issue. One of the legislative staffers implied to her that the whole "fight club" occurence wasn't that serious because the victims had been evaluated and didn't appear injured.

My friend stopped for a moment and then said, "If people with disabilities were seen as equal this would not even be discussed. We would just be upset about the bad thing that had happened to our friend or our neighbor."

The staffer had to agree.

In another conversation I had this week someone pointed out that abuse can occur in smaller settings as well. And this, of course is true. But when people live in neighborhoods, go to schools and restaurants and miniature golf courses with everyone else, abuse can be noticed. Being seen and being known are protective.

One of my first blog-posts ever contrasted the media coverage and experiences of a man who died in a Missouri institution and a pastor who was shot in Texas the same week.

Dave Hingsburger has been running a series of posts about a woman he had seen while he was out shopping who was being abused by a caregiver. He gave her his phone number and told her to call the police. She did call the police. And him. Her Caregiver is being investigated and charged...

Had she lived in an institution, away from shops and neighbors, Dave would not have been there to notice.

Food for thought.

1 comment:

Barbara said...

Follow-up report in our local paper, shown on the front page March 12:

http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/Who_should_take_care_of_Jenny_Sawyer.html

Quote from a parent of a child who has lived in a Texas state school for 26 years: "Institution is not a dirty word."

The expectation that public programs will be perfect and unblemished by accidents and mistakes is as idealistic as expecting EVERY private home to be similarly perfect.

Institutions are staffed by most fallable humans, some of whom do their very best within the system.

The cry fowl is so "news".