How you think about disability affects how you act toward your clients with disabilities
Forming and understanding a disability ideology is important in guiding all steps of the training process. There is no BEST way to conceptualize disability. You need to find the way that works best for YOUR program. Having a solid ideology for all of your training staff helps ensure equality and consistency in the program and creates a team environment.
Disability is a consequence of sin, doing something wrong Disability can be dealt with through spiritual intervention, or finding meaning in disability People can feel “chosen” by divine being for having disability, or they can feel “shamed” People with disabilities are separated from “normal” society Goodley, 2010
Oldest model of disability (used until 1900’s) Has ties to religion Not how many Travel Training programs conceptualize disability in modern times… but it’s an interesting history lesson! This line of thinking shows how disability is so stigmatized today Goodley, 2010
Disability is a medical problem that resides within the individual People describe their disabilities with their medical diagnoses Disability can be treated through medical interventions Goodley, 2010
Allows for medical advancements to help people with disabilities Creates patient-professional dynamic ◦ People with disabilities are treated BY professionals Streamlines diagnosis and treatment plans Doesn’t give the “full picture” of a person with a disability within their environment Goodley, 2010
Qualification for Benefits/Training ◦ SSDI, Reduced Fare Program Determining type of training desired ◦ Transit orientation vs. Trip training Convenience of using medical labels ◦ Cognitive disability, Physical disability, Psych disability ◦ Categorizing people is easy
Disability is caused by social barriers that a person experiences Impairment is the medical name for condition that person has (paraplegia, learning disability) Disability is the social consequences (needs curb cuts and ramps, cannot read stop announcements) Goodley, 2010
Cerebral palsy- people can’t understand me when I talk MS- need to use wheelchair, ramps, and curb cuts Learning disability-need to write down trip directions
Puts less emphasis on the individual and more emphasis on their environment Gets rid of some of the stigma and personal blame associated with having a disability But it does not recognize that having an impairment can be frustrating and painful Goodley, 2010; Oliver, 1987
How is the Social Model used within Travel Training Programs?
Planning around environmental barriers ◦ ADA compliance and policy Not a “cookie cutter” model ◦ Trainees with the same diagnosis can have different travel abilities based on their environments ◦ Example: using “landmarks” instead of “stop announcements” in training Takes into consideration social supports and assistive technology
Also known as the Cultural Model Disability can only be understood in terms of cultural power differences ◦ People with disabilities are a cultural minority ◦ People who are able-bodied have privilege Creates a sense of community, identity, and disability pride But also treats all disabilities as the same Goodley, 2010
The goal of this model is to empower the person with a disability ◦ Give decision-making power ◦ Help them create a positive identity ◦ Help then to work with self-sufficiency ◦ Give them power to make change Goodley, 2010
How is the Empowerment Model used within Travel Training Programs?
This is the model that the RTA Travel Training Program is guided by Our program uses aspects of Medical and Social models as well, but emphasizes many tenants of the Empowerment model ◦ self-sufficiency, decision-making, and positive change
Encourage trainee self-advocacy ◦ Speaking up for his/her own rights Allow trainee to guide training goals ◦ Don’t impose trainer’s priorities onto trainee Travel Training IS empowerment! ◦ These skills create positive change in a trainee’s life!
Moral Model: Disability is caused by sin. Find meaning behind disability. Medical Model: Disability is caused by a medical problem. Go to a doctor, use a wheelchair. Social Model: Disability is a social consequence of a physical impairment. Make transit accessible so everyone can use it. Empowerment Model: Disability is a minority label. Learn to stand up for your rights and become self-sufficient. Goodley, 2010
Creating an Ideology of Disability from these Models
Ideology: Ideology: a set of conscious and unconscious ideas that constitute one's goals, expectations, and actions. HOW YOU THINK ABOUT SOMETHING Merriam-Webster, 2013
STEP 1: PRIORITIZE your values ◦ What is important to your Travel Training team? ◦ What are your goals? ◦ What is your message? UP NEXT: What model(s) of disability might fit your team’s priorities?
What’s important? ◦ Personalized training ◦ Utilizing our trainers’ strengths ◦ Respecting our trainees and their families ◦ Safety ◦ Efficient use of trainer time ◦ Keeping up with demand ◦ Teaching clients as many trips as possible ◦ Reducing paratransit use
What’s important? 1.Safety 2.Respecting our trainees and their families 3.Personalized training 4.Keeping up with demand 5.Reducing paratransit use 6.Efficient use of trainer time 7.Teaching clients as many trips as possible 8.Utilizing our trainers’ strengths
STEP 2: Use COMPLEMENTARY models You don’t have to stick with just one ◦ Medical Model and Social Model can be complementary if you make the distinction between a medical impairment and a socially-defined disability Moral model… I personally would not suggest it in Travel Training Ideologies
What model(s) of disability might fit the priorities laid out for our program? EmpowermentMedical Empowerment and Medical
Empowerment Model: Respect, Family, Quality, Personalized training Medical Model: Efficiency, Quantity, Keeping up with demand
STEP 3: ADAPT to your Team’s Practice ◦ What barriers are present in your practice that you cannot work around? Example: A program can ONLY take clients who are on SSDI ◦ What are you doing now that can be changed to better reflect your values? Example: Some travel training programs split their trainers to work with people based on where they live. Others find it more efficient to work with people based on what their diagnosis is instead.
Barriers: Outreach to applicable populations Limited number of trainers Cancellations of appointments
Making changes to reflect values: Cancellations of appointments Medical Model Approach: Set a limit to the number of cancellations each trainee can make. When this limit has been reached, discontinue training with the client.
Making changes to reflect values: Cancellations of appointments Social Model Approach: Determine what the outside factors are that are causing a client to cancel (the client cannot get child care, the client’s phone gets turned off) and tackle this problem from a social perspective.
Making changes to reflect values: Cancellations of appointments Empowerment Model Approach: Engage the client in his or her training. Have him or her guide the training so he or she feels more in control and is less likely to cancel.
STEP 4: DISCUSS the ideology as a team Make sure everyone is on board ◦ Trainers, supervisor, funders, organization Ideologies can be fluid! ◦ Changes to the system can occur, new trainers are hired… change your ideology accordingly. Keep open communication between team members
“I’ve noticed that our cancellation policy is not working. I have closed three trainees due to cancellations this month. Maybe we should take a different approach.” “I really like the way we’re promoting our program and doing outreach. Let’s keep up these techniques and increase outreach to the populations we are already performing outreach on.”
Meet MONTHLY to discuss the ideology as a team Have an open line of communication with the travel training supervisor or the head of the organization to discuss day-to-day issues ◦ We have monthly supervision sessions SPEAK UP! Nothing is “not a big deal”