Supporting moderate needs

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Many charities have started to focus on moderate needs as a mechanism to campaign for the government to increase the social care budget even though any increase is more likely to be spent on increased fees as opposed to helping anyone. My concern and why I appear to be heartless, is that it would be unhelpful to simply provide people with moderate needs with traditional care services with a simple tick box entitlement as I feel this would cause increased dependency that could be harmless and wasteful in the long term.

 

I feel people with moderate needs are most likely to benefit from enablement and empowerment opportunities which will assist them to be independent as possible where the use of equipment and adapting lifestyle can reduce the level of long term support needed. Also, a positive attitude will always make a big difference turning a victim into an independent citizen.  

 

If you like what I say, have a look at my site at www.simonstevens.com or follow me on twitter, @simonstevens74, or even leave me feedback on +44 (0)121 364 1974 or email simon@simonstevens.com  

 

The small things is life

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For many disabled people, it is not the big things like rights and policies that makes the real difference in their lives, but rather it is the small things that really matter and can be life changing. For this, I mean things like small pieces of equipment or clothes, like bibs and swimming nappies, within the home, a dropped curb in the right place or having assistance or support with that one little thing that makes life worth making.

 

You can have all the money in the world, but without a positive attitude and information about the little things which can make the biggest difference, people will remain victims of their own situation. I wish sometimes I could spent a few hours with so many disabled people to support them in understanding what they can do rather then what they can’t do, which has very little to do with the level of the impairment someone has.

 

If you like what I say, have a look at my site at www.simonstevens.com or follow me on twitter, @simonstevens74, or even leave me feedback on +44 (0)121 364 1974 or email simon@simonstevens.com  

 

There is always a choice

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I often hear people say that they had no choice when they were faced with a specific situation but when we really examine it, I believe there is always a choice in anything we do. The thing is any choice comes with consequences whether may be good and bad and therefore we avoid some choices because we do not like the consequences of what may happen by choosing it.

 

To give a extreme example, I can murder anyone I want so long I can physically do it, there is little stopping me. But the consequences are that I am most likely be arrested and spend many years in Prison, which makes it a harder choice but it is still indeed a choice. The thing is it is about not seeing ourselves as victims of any situation but understand we make the choices and have taken control of our destiny by understanding what could have happened if we had made other choices.

 

There is always a choice and it is so important to remember this important fact.

 

If you like what I say, have a look at my site at www.simonstevens.com or follow me on twitter, @simonstevens74, or even leave me feedback on +44 (0)121 364 1974 or email simon@simonstevens.com  


Just never give up!!

People who know me who that I am a very determined person and I have always been determined. If I wanted something than I have always found a way to get it, one way or another. I sometimes amaze myself at how determined I am even with doing the impossible because just I never give up.

I am not saying it is easy or that anyone can achieve what I have, because we all have our own stories to fulfil. But I am saying that “I can’t” can be turned into “I can” if you dig deep and use the fire in your belly to get things done. You may need to make a few people uncomfortable or be quite creative to get what you want but it can be done.

Everyone faces barriers in their life and it is easy to think you are the only won, but barriers are merely things to overcome that make life interesting. You have the power to not let barriers stop you from getting what you want if you just never give up!!
If you like what I say, have a look at my website at www.simonstevens.com or follow me on twitter, @simonstevens74, or even leave me feedback on +44 (0)121 364 1974 or email simon@simonstevens.com  

Feeding Dependency


The big problem I have with disability charities, user-led charities and indeed protest groups in that they are dependent on the dependency of disabled people for their existence. By dependency I mean a state where someone sees themselves as a victim and unable to make decisions for themselves without the physical or emotional support of a charity.

The charities prefer to keep them dependent on them by teaching them to have goals which they can help with and ensuring the goals are never perceived as achieved like independent living and human rights. Alcohol Anonymous is a perfect example of an organisation that profits from dependency. It teaches people doubt as they label someone as recovering, never recovered and teaches people they need lifelong therapy to make a single decision of not drinking. We don’t talk about recovering smokers!

As independent living, as the inclusion of disabled people into society, becomes a reality and the ‘job’ of the charities comes to an end, they need to put new obstacles in the way. They flocked human rights into a meaningless pulp as it has became an excuse to be dependency, and so all they have now is hate crime. Hate crime is a bogeyman to halt the path of inclusion and for some charities an excuse to lock disabled people away for their protection.

We need to see the damage these charities are doing and demand their closure so disabled people can have the independence their deserve.


Supporting people through recovery


I feel one of the problems with how some disabled people are responding to the welfare reforms is that why we do not support people during the recovery period of an sudden onset of sickness and residual impairment. I should explain for those who may not know, as well as having cerebral palsy from birth, 3 years ago I had an acute nerve virus which left me temporarily paralysed from the navel downwards, requiring 9 months rehab so I do have a bit of experience here.

The modern hospital is an acute setting where there role is simply to sort out the immediate problem until someone is stable and then they simply discharge people with little considering for the recovery process from that point. Therefore I believe many people are left in limbo as being ‘sick’ but stable where they are left without support or a proper plan for their physical and emotional recovery.

So many people are left on their own to come to terms with their new situation with little to do other than claim for benefits and other they think they should be entitled to as they go through the angry stage of change. This is why they become so obsessed with the benefit process and blame ATOS for not providing them with the emotional validation they are seeking.

We therefore need to better support everyone through the recover process physically and most importantly emotionally to enable them to see the positive side of the situation they are in to be ready to celebrate their abilities and make a new meaningful contribution to society.




Supporting Carers and Users as Families

As the Care and Support white paper has finally been launched as a disjointed patchwork of half baked ideas and existing policies, one thing which concerns me is the potential impact of the fact carers will have entitlements to support in own right. While this is quite laudable, the problem for me is that it cause pit the wants of service users against the wants of carers as family members could end up competed for the same resource they are entitled to for very different ideological reasons.


I fear that as soon as they say carer, an active disabled citizens disappears and is replaced by a passive burden who is a strain for this heroic prefect carer who does no wrong. This means that a 19 year old disabled person who wants to live independent living, employing their own staff, will be denied this opportunity as this is not in the financial interest of their parents, who could be using a badly designed personal budget to pay themselves to control of life of this burden in a way society simply accepts.


We need to move aware from thinking about a carers and users, which is still a very new concept, and go back or go forward to thinking about, working with and supporting families as functional operations of living. Social Workers should seek a win win situation where the best interests of everyone is considered. If this does not happen, I fear the economics of social care will mean the wants of carers may always come first.

Windsurfing on my Bum

In my early 20s windsurfing was something I wanted to try but I had assumed was not possible. I had problems standing on solid ground and so how on earth could I balance on a board? But I love getting wet and so I tried it anyway, having one to one lessons. Then as I was trying to figure out where I should really put my feet ‘in my language’ rather where the instructor wanted me to put them, it stuck me, why not try it sitting down.

My thinking was by lowering my centre of gravity I was more likely to stay on the board. So after some trial and error, I was able to successfully windsurf on my bum using an adult board and child’s sail. As a dangle my legs over the side, my wetsuit and booties are invaluable to stay warm!

With another tick in my life, it demonstrates problem solving is about identity looking at the problem from all angles and focusing on the outcome and not have a fix method in mind. If we want something and willing to try,  anything is possible.  I came to windsurfing understanding my limitations but with a willingness to try that lead to my creative success!

Celebrating the Individual


As an 1980s I was brought up under Thatchererism and while Margaret Thatcher policies were not always popular, they were passionate. One thing think I did get from her is the power of the individual to succeed. She was the queen of enterprise and the small businessman in a way I do believe we have seen since.


Nowadays everything must be a charity, community or social enterprise, where the individual is lost. But while people say it is collectives that empower group as united we stand, I disagree. Individuals as leaders in all forms make real change as every collective starts with a person. The individual can be daring and challenging and throughout history we can celebrate the success of individuals.


To change the general rights without responsibility culture that exists, where everything is someone else’s fault, it need to reinvest to celebrating individuals as bundles of potential, where everyone as a part to play. If you want something, the only person who will give it to you is yourself and there is no point crying to the government about unfair life is.

Falling off a horse


When I was a young boy I went horse riding, it was a perk of going to a special school and while it was fun, it was also therapy. I remember being told that if you fall off a horse, the best and only thing to do is to get straight back on the horse. I did fall off a few times and always got back of immediate.


This idea of falling of a horse became a metaphor for me which has struck with me throughout my life. The idea that if something bad happens, the best thing to do is get it sorted and move on not cry about it and get stuck in a deep dark whole. When I and my company went bankrupt in 2008, I immediately got back on my feet and become the independent disability consultant I am now.


Sickness and new found conditions are not an excuse to wallow in self pity but a new challenge to overcome with potentially exciting new opportunities for those who are prepared to work for them. The only person who can get you back on that horse is yourself!