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Access: Some aspects of New Zealand's disability history - part two

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  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    Wonder if they were paid the going rate? Possibly then, as now, very easy for employers to claim a minimum wage exemption and pay however little they want.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3196 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    Yes, I was too young back then to be aware of that stuff. Another thing I wonder about was how much formal support was in place for those who'd been 'released' into the wider world. I recall adults discussing stuff like how they'd called on someone on Christmas day and found him eating baked beans, with the suggestion that it was more down to ignorance than deprivation. What I don't know is whether that kind of follow-up was over to the initiative of individuals, or part of an organised outreach.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Andre,

    Many baked beans fans may of course rejoice in his choice of Xmas fare and just hope he upped the ante and splashed out on Watties with a sprinkling of grated cheese on toast. I'd probably steer towards sweet corn myself.
    Many traits exhibited by single men without family connections at Christmas are probably similar, especially aetheists on an extreme budget or if they enjoyed a drink.
    I used to live along the main route walked by the residents of a halfway house down the way and interacted around their their constant requests for cigarettes and cash. They seemed to be better off than living at somewhere like Kingseat as far as they got to make choices in their lives but there didn't seem to be much other interaction even if you sought it. Even after 3 or 4 years they didn't seem to remember me other than a source of fags or cash. But at least you knew they were deserving of your help. I did however think they would have missed the interaction if living in the country. I hope those farmers are smokers if they do relocate them however.

    New Zealand • Since May 2009 • 350 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald,

    An interesting paper from 2001 on the closure of Templeton....from a socio-economic/political standpoint. http://ir.canterbury.ac.nz/bitstream/10092/920/1/thesis_fulltext.pdf

    This paper concludes....

    "The social philosophy of normalisation has continued to promote the social inclusion and participation of people with intellectual disabilities while neo-liberalism has declined in the political discourse of the health sector. However, the resurgence of neo-liberalism, caused by the impending crisis of an ageing population and a reduced taxable work-force will create fiscal pressure on state expenditure on the health infrastructure. Should New Zealand governments once more adopt neo-liberalism as its economic discourse, the freedom and independence currently enjoyed by most people with intellectual disabilities may be undermined by neo-liberal cost saving strategies in the health infrastructure."

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    One good aspect of the slow final closure process of Kimberley was the effort put into the relationship between the family support group RESCARE and the Ministry of Health. Ruth Dyson as Minister of Disability Issues got lots of flack over those final few years of Kimberley as some of the earlier deinst processes had been rushed and poor. But the stroppy families and the stroppy minister seemed to work it out so those last residents - who were some of the most complex re support needs - had proper support in the community, monitored by families. The Donald Beasley Institute in Dunedin evaluated the whole process from the perspectives of staff, families and residents and the reports are on their website if anyone cares to read them. Pity those processes had not been in place from the 1970s.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3196 posts Report Reply

  • Andre,

    One of my closest lifelong friends is a schizophrenic. He was hospitalised 18 years ago for six months and still sees a doctor fortnightly for medication. We're each our oldest close friends and see each other at least weekly. I distanced myself from him before he was diagnosed (because it was impossible to understand his actions at the time) and then saw him a couple of times before shifting cities then only a few times while living away for eight years. His parents are wealthy and he doesn't suffer financially from being unable to work. This makes a huge difference and will continue to increase in importance under our current economy. He gets multiple visitors a day, isn't perfect but dates and has long-term relationships with women, is still extremely intelligent and has fun often. He has his quirks but that's just him. I think BITD he would have now been incarcerated for 18 years. Just imagine. Every proponent of re-institutionalisation should be made to read One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest.

    New Zealand • Since May 2009 • 350 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Russell Brown,

    a Blyton society...

    It was at the end of the sixth form and five of us had somehow wound up on a committee tasked with exploring potential...

    Five Go Mad on Munificence!

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7887 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    The concept of rehabilitation became strongly linked with employment, as in the development of the organisation which became the Rehabilitation League and which still exists as employment service Workbridge.

    I've approached them for possible assistance, in the hope of career-changing from what is becoming a sunset industry, and so far they haven't done much beyond CV and cover letter advice (I'm not the only one with that experience). Their criteria for support funds only covers the direct 'costs of disability' - ie, things that directly interfere with one's ability to work, such as text machines for the deaf or prosthetic limbs for amputees. As for conditions like Aspergers and ADD, they're only 'indirect' costs.

    I'm far too cynical for all the usual motivational psychobabble these days - to those on the ASD spectrum, they might as well be told that goldfish can climb trees if they stick it out enough. Such people need solutions that get results - trouble is, said solutions aren't cheap.

    One such solution I've been suggested by another disabilty employment agency is the Mainstream Employment Programme. It's a long shot though - it's geared for recent grads, and I'm effectively a mid-career Walmart dropout (as opposed to a Silicon Valley dropout). Has anyone else here been approved for the MEP?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5416 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Yes my Oscar got his job several years ago via Mainstream. But successes are scarce and getting rarer. But sign up if you can as it is a brilliant concept. Mainstream was set up decades ago in the State Services Commission as a specialist supported employment scheme for disabled people for jobs in the public service.

    For approved providers it paid the employed person's full wages for the first year and half for the second. The idea was that by the third there would be a real sustainable job. Of course that rarely happened and after two years many disappointed people were let go to start again on the employment ladder. But there were incentives and annual awards for good employers. A few years ago it was extended to government agencies such as schools and many permanent employees from the scheme are in schools.

    However, following the change of government in 2008 the scheme was transferred to MSD, resources cut and for a few years the books were closed. They apparently opened them to new applicants last year. Not sure how it is going now but I know a lot of people have high hopes for employment via the scheme (often fostered by Workbridge or Work and Income).

    It seems to work best when a good employer (with a designated contact who will do the liaising with the rest of the workplace staff as well as those providing the employment support and training of the Mainstream worker) has a clear idea of what the new job will be, and the contracted employment agency has someone specific on their books - so they work around that person's needs. The contact person in the employing place has to be in a position to ease that disabled employee's road into employment and have the right attitudes. Of course if they leave the whole thing might collapse if the infrastructure hasn't been built around them.

    When that is all in place it seems to work. Often the actual job is only part time, however.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3196 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    The Donald Beasley Institute in Dunedin evaluated the whole process from the perspectives of staff, families and residents and the reports are on their website if anyone cares to read them.

    Thanks Hilary, I'm still working my way through the material. While it relates to a later period than what affected me - my dad retired from Kimberley in the late 1970s - the thoroughness is pretty impressive. I must say I'm dismayed to discover that a significant proportion of effectively untrained people were working at Kimberley at the time of its closure.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    Some further reading on the sort of university experiences I had, given at the time I didn't even know I was on the spectrum. In hindsight I don’t at all regret dropping out, I only regret not doing it sooner, were it not for the fact that my folks wanted me to go to uni and I didn’t want to risk being disinherited.

    * NBC News: Dropping Out, Again: Why So Many College Students Never Graduate
    * Inside Higher Ed: Repeat Non-Completers
    * NY Times: For Poor, Leap to College Often Ends in a Hard Fall

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5416 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    Were probably all the way through. Cheap. Look at the aged care institutions. Many are lucky to have a trained nurse on site and a doctor may have to be called in from elsewhere. The staff may be wonderful but unlikely to be specifically trained or paid for that training.

    At Kimberley and other places, as Robert Martin reports in his book, Becoming a person, there were also some good people with the best of intentions. Some were in official roles and some were just kind staff. But the systems were set up to oppress them all.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3196 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    it is a brilliant concept

    There we disagree. Public sector organisations could easily be required to hire disabled people without needing a salary bribe. That way, the limited funding could fund supports and extra professional development and coaching services for both employee and workplace colleagues and managers.

    I see Mainstream as an admission of long-tolerated failure to address core attitudes about the value of disabled workers, not a success.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    At Kimberley and other places, as Robert Martin reports in his book, Becoming a person, there were also some good people with the best of intentions. Some were in official roles and some were just kind staff. But the systems were set up to oppress them all.

    I’m sure that similar claims were made about institutions such as the old Templeton at the time Kimberley was established. The burden of placing those with behavioural issues into the community falls disproportionately on those with lower incomes, and we continue to jail people with real disabilities while stigmatising them as ‘dumb crims’. No revolution has occurred to fully banish oppression, the need for reform is ongoing.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Sacha,

    The original concept of Mainstream was great as it was developed in the 1980s when there was no assumption that disabled people even deserved an education or a paid job beyond a sheltered workshop. Not how it actually works now – or doesn’t. In 2014 employers shouldn’t need a bribe.

    Ironically, Oscar’s employer has just told me this morning that the job is not working for him or them, which is not entirely surprising after 10 years. He is now in a transition process out. But as all parents of disabled children (whatever their age) know, finding something else will be largely up to someone else, probably me.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3196 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald,

    Here.....http://www.asenz.org.nz/about-asenz-and-supported-employment/

    Sounds really good.....

    (but with my deep distrust of anything associated with NZDSN...)

    But don't let that put anyone off....

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald,

    http://www.q-nique.co.nz/supported-employment.html

    http://www.emergetrust.org.nz/

    So many providers of Supported Employment for those with disabilities....all sound so positive...

    So...?

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    The job initially came with Emerge's help - they still keep in touch. It was set up by parents in the early 80s and has retained good community principles.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3196 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    It is good to see positive feedback about one these organisations.

    There is so much Govt. funding going into various groups and schemes and programmes, with seemingly little in the way of sustainable, positive outcomes.

    I understand that having a choice of providers is a plus....but how does one decide which provider to pin your (or your child's) future outcomes on?

    Perhaps we need to set up a "rate that disability supports provider" website....sharing positive and negative experiences.

    And perhaps, at the risk of copping some flak for differentiating between various types of impairment, it might be useful for these outfits to say in their promos..." we specialise in finding sustainable employment for those on the autistic spectrum, if you are in the Deaf community...try XYZ Agency".

    Just a thought....because everybody's needs are specific.

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Emerge has just emailed with a very positive response. Going to see them in January. A helpful attitude goes a long way.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3196 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    Emerge has just emailed with a very positive response. Going to see them in January. A helpful attitude goes a long way.

    I've just registered with them too, and they're the ones who suggested the MEP, which I didn't know even existed until they told me about it.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5416 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    All-too-common story of buck-passing and lack of person-centredness by various public agencies resulting in a disabled person and her family missing out on a simple wheelchair ramp for several years.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to Sacha,

    This kind of thing REALLY pisses me off.

    It seems like Mum is providing most or all of the care for this young lass.

    The reality is, that if a Contracted Provider was sending in carers...these issues would come under a 'workplace safety' banner and get sorted fast.

    Unpaid, family carers simply do not count.

    As an aside....it took over a decade for us to get MOH funding for a queen size medical bed ( routinely funded by ACC for a high tetraplegic).

    Peter has been a really cheap crip to run as he has not had funding for home modifications etc. Just a wheelchair and shower chair. The bed being height adjustable ( and big enough to fit his 6' 4" frame into) became an absolute neccessity when my back folded and I was literally unable to transfer him. Luckily we had prodigal grown children in the house temporarily to do the transfers. We were told that if outside carers were coming in...a bed would be funded toot sweet.

    Our final argument was to send a ' invoice' to a MOH Higher Up for the approximately $750,000 they had saved by me providing years of unpaid care.

    Dollars...thats the only language they speak.

    Auckland? Surely this is Taikura Trust's bailiwick?

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    Surely this is Taikura Trust’s bailiwick?

    I don't understand that aspect of the story either.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to Sacha,

    I wonder why, if her brain injury is the result of falling into a swimming pool...this young lass isn't covered by ACC?

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

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