Organizations which continue to spend copious amounts of money on creating-work settings, home environments, even Snooze-land Rooms (to re-create the stimulus people with disabilities would receive the real world) are sending a strong message, people with disabilities must prove their worthiness to be included.
Here is an example of just that kind of thinking: Kaitlyn Linsner of the Montgomery Media reports on a Special Education classroom in Springfield, PA which has created a “mock up apartment” where students can learn and practice life skills. They have even begun to create partnerships with local businesses where students can practice having a job, by doing real work for little to no pay. Sheltered workshops, day programs and many special education classrooms both in the US and In Canada continue to cling to this outdated and deeming model
Here is a flash-students with disabilities learn life skills by HAVING A LIFE, they learn to make money and balance budgets by securing REAL EMPLOYMENT. They learn family living by LIVING IN A REAL FAMILY.
Lets stop creating parallel universes for citizens with disabilities where they can practice until they are deemed by an organization, a skills matrix, or a service provider arbitrator that they are indeed full, complete healthful and imperative members of community.
Imagine living your life in perpetual training, languishing in settings that have the trappings of a real life, but are ultimately constructed from benevolence, gatekeeping and fear.
People with disabilities are not broken, ignorant, nor are their disabilities, in and of themselves, in need of eradication.
If the intent of an intervention is to provide accommodation, address illness, or to fulfil life long learning opportunities, then it is probably resources well spent.
Lets stop spending money on approaches that seek to fix that which is not broken, and lets certainly stop doing it in trumped up, mocked up, sterile, separate settings.
Life happens in the world, in the hairy, messy and complex world.
I’ll meet you there.