As a disabled person in today’s world it can be pretty easy to succumb to the daily rotten fruit that flies from tabloids consistently blaming the disabled for the world and his dog’s financial woes. Because, as we all know, the financial crash happened not due to greedy investment bankers, but due to Peter who is Paraplegic, who has the audacity to receive a hundred pound a week to feed himself. And of course austerity is not established by the super rich, but by Mike, the MS sufferer from Manchester who’s preference for a life limiting condition means everyone else has to suffer… right, we no?
With this in mind here we take a look at just what it means to be Self-Determined in today’s world and moreover we provide a few simple tips for kick-ass Self-Determination.
So, just what is self-determination?
Self-determination is an official term set out in the Disability Discrimination Act.
In short and understandable language it means a person’s ability to make their own choices and decisions based upon their interests and preferences, which then leads to actions.
It’s understood that Self-Determination is affected by a few things, namely:
– The person’s abilities,
– The person’s opportunities,
– The environment in which they find themselves (which will include the negatives such as outlined at the start, as well as the positives).
Let’s take a look at a few self-determined ‘actions’
Self-Determination is… “Just another word for a life filled with rising expectations, dignity, respect, and opportunities”.
– Dr. Wehmeyer
So, just what actions may be Self-Determined, well here are some examples to put it into context:
– Being able to make choices and decisions,
– Being able to control services, support and all other assistance,
– Having the authority to controls resources,
– Having the opportunity to become involved and actively contribute to the community,
– Having the support (which includes financial) to advocate and develop leadership skills, become trained as a self-advocate, and participate in coalitions and policy-making.
Some top tips for gaining kick-ass Self-Determination
1. Understand that Self-Determination is not the same as being in control…
Self-Determination is all about causing things to happen in one’s own life, it is not about being in control. It is about Self-Caused Action. Which means that the person in question can harness certain things, which result in something else.
This could be the obtaining of assistance, which allows the person to do something simple. Or it could be the gaining of a job, which allows for a whole host of other things. And it could extend to be one’s insistence upon more than just what is acceptable or required to harness something that truly benefits them.
Once this point is grasped, the following tips are super straight forward…
2. Determine what you want, how you want, and what you want done
3. Be determined to do things on your own, but know that those around you can help your achieve
Self-Determination: Your Voice, Your Choice