When I went to college to do my Developmental Services Worker (DSW), we were lectured over and over about stealing our clients power. That mean’s taking away the small decision-making they have depending on their disability. Here are some examples: Someone who is be verbal but fully dependant may say that they want to make a phone call to a friend, and they need you to hold the phone. You as the support worker say, “sorry, I’m busy and you don’t really need to call them anyway.” OR, someone is talking to my client and I answer for them or interrupt. OR my favorite, talking about someone as if they’re not there. This is really bad if it’s a doctor’s appointment regarding further testing. People need to be informed about what’s happening with them. Sorry got sidetracked.
Every time my professors talked about staff stealing their clients power, I tuned out. I had already been doing this job for eighteen years and knew who I was, that I was good at my job and I didn’t need anyone to tell me how to do it. I always thought, “I don’t do that, what an awful person to do that. They should quit their job if they don’t like it.” Who did I think I was, maybe I DO.
The truth is as support staff, we all do it, some worse than others. I was very careful after that to see if I did do steal my client’s power and catch myself if I did.
Giving people with a special need a power, may seem silly to some people, or not make any sense. Why would you ask someone what they want to wear, how they like their tea, if they want to go to the movie or inquire about them at all? I believe the reason is because, there is something in all of us and it only turns on when we connect with other human beings. This is why we all want friends, partners, lovers, children and family. psychologist’s have time and time again studied human interaction, human touch and what it does for us to do for someone else. It makes us feel good, gives us purpose, gives us different views on the world and in some cases brings us closer to a higher power. I am sure it does good for our insides too that we don’t pay attention to, smiling muscles, heart, skin nerves and so on. These are all good things, and we want good things in our crazy world, or we go crazy and take others down with us.
So, the question still is, do I take power from my clients? The answer is no, at least I don’t think so. I am almost overly the other way around. Which sometimes results in me having a one-sided conversation all day, with my client answering yes or no in whatever way they can, but, it is a sacrifice I am willing to make. I (sometimes annoyingly) train my staff in a very meticulous way so as to respect the wishes of my client down to a tee.
I can’t imagine if I needed help with everything and someone just took over my care without inquiring about me, didn’t talk to me and maybe forced me to desist any kind of protest. I think that is why I do things the way I do. I completely appreciate my ability to walk, talk, swallow and take care of myself. Yes, parents, staff and friends think I’m crazy but, they eventually realize that there is a method to my madness and my passion drives from deep within.
So yes, I am still going to name every colour shirt to the blind person so they can pick the one they want to wear and let someone order their food at the restaurant and stall a person until my client answers for themselves. I have two quote’s I want to pass on…
Make a child’s (person’s) day everyday, your will have the best day thereafter.
Fit someone else into your day everyday, you will feel better because you did!
I know, their kinda the same, but the same is good sometimes.
Thanks for pointing this out, Parent’s are equally guilty at times of exactly this. Thanks
Sometimes it may matter, and sometimes, maybe not. But when it matters, I don’t want to assume it never does!