Making a Difference What Attitudes, Skills And Knowledge Are The Keys To Making A Difference? Making a Difference With Nora J. Baladerian, Ph.D. Making a Difference For the Online Conference September 9, 2004 Purpose of Training • Expand knowledge and skills to more effectively intervene with children and adults with disabilities. Barriers Barriers to Effective & Sensitive Interviewing of Individuals with Intellectual and/or Cognitive Impairments/Differences Barriers • Lack of information about mental retardation & other (Developmental) Disabilities Barriers • Cultural and informational differences due to: • Segregation • Exclusion, and • Disability Barriers • Unexamined myths and stereotypes that result in prejudice, fear and negative attitudes. Barriers • Devaluing • Dehumanizing • Distancing Barriers • Limited or lack of personal contact with individuals with similar backgrounds Barriers • Belief that individuals with mental illness or communication differences cannot be effectively or reliably interviewed. Attitudes • • • • • • Attitudes as Feelings Attitudes as beliefs Attitudes as myths Beliefs as stereotypes Translation of our thinking into action Attitudes, beliefs & feelings can change Attitudes as Feelings • Our attitudes are built by observing then mimicking our teachers: Parents Siblings Neighbors School teachers Peers Attitudes as Feelings • We internalize and externally demonstrate what we have been taught: • To look down on others for their difference to “us”. • To “group” others and ourselves, then value one above the other. Attitudes as Feelings • We learn to actually FEEL that one IS better than the other only because of values we have chosen to adopt from our disability-negative society. • We learn to actually BELIEVE that our feeling is accurate or “right”. • We are not told that we can develop our own personal set of values, Attitudes as Feelings • We are not told that we can develop our own personal set of values. • We DISCOVER that we can develop our own personal set of values, such as, “All people are important. It does not matter whether or not they have a disability, are of a particular gender, race, religion, ethnic heritage.” Feelings Drive our Behavior • How we feel, regardless of our awareness of the feeling, drives our behavior. Feelings Drive our Behavior • We may unthinkingly use words of facial expressions (looks) that are painful to the individual with a disability. For example, talking ABOUT the person with their family or assistants instead of talking TO the person. Feelings Drive our Behavior • We may fail to do “as much” or “equal” service to our clients who have disabilities. For example, not offer them a brochure or reading material under the assumption that they will not be able to benefit from having it. Attitudes: Us and Them • We have developed a strongly “ist” society…negative valuing and feelings about others… Sexist Racist Able-ist Attitudes: Measuring Value • Those who are valued most in our society are: • Men or women? • Tall or short? • With or without a disability • UNLESS balanced by • Great wealth • Great intellect Attitudes: Pygmalion • Our culture highly values fluency of speech, clear speech production, and a good vocabulary. • This is then quickly translated into perceived intellection prowess. Attitudes: Pygmalion • If such prowess is lacking, there often occurs a “lesser valuing” of the individual. • Those who have mental retardation or other disabilities that effect their speech or language skills cannot meet these standards. • Yet, they certainly are able to effectively describe what has happened to them. Attitudes: As Beliefs • Attitudes ARE beliefs, reinforced over time by repetition, along with feelings. Attitudes: As Beliefs • Attitudes can be negative or positive. • Attitudes, built on false information, demean both the holder of the attitude and the person(s) toward whom the negative attitude is directed. Attitudes: As Beliefs • Translation to Crime Victims with Disabilities. They take too much time…we can’t allocate THAT MUCH time to JUST ONE victim They need too many resources…we cannot afford an interpreter! Attitudes: As Beliefs • Translation to Crime Victims with Disabilities. They need more than we can provide…we don’t have an accessible room for the interview. They create too much trouble…we can’t make our facility ADA accessible just for a few people! Attitudes: As Beliefs • Translation to Crime Victims with Disabilities. We can’t train all of our staff to use the TDD for Deaf or Hard of Hearing crime victims…or those with Speech impairments. We can’t take the time to learn all the rules about Relay services or Speech-to-Speech options. Examples from Children • These attitudes are more obvious, perhaps, in watching kids who have learned these disability-negative attitudes. Examples from Children • Taunting, teasing & making fun of other kids because of their disability • Physically attacking and killing kids with disabilities • Using epithets such as “you retard” or “You spaz” Examples from Children • These behaviors contribute to the attacked child beginning to feel unworthy, unwanted and “less than” those who attack • Not to mention unsafe. Beliefs as Myths • There are ideas that we have been taught, or as a society casually create, that through repetition and absence of a balancing discussion on the other side of the coin, become part of our belief system. • Here are some that may have a negative impact on our effectiveness. Beliefs as Myths about People with Disabilities • Cannot remember • Make up stories to get attention • Will never be a credible witness Beliefs as Myths about People with Disabilities • Cannot understand enough • Cannot be understood by the interviewer • Are not really necessary as a witness Beliefs as Myths about People with Disabilities • They are just going to change their story later, and therefore are unreliable…they were lying then or they are lying now. • They just cannot distinguish the truth from a lie. Beliefs as Myths about People with Disabilities • They cannot understand the consequences for lying. • They don’t have a sufficient or correct vocabulary to describe the abuse. Beliefs as Myths about People with Disabilities • Alternative methods of communication cannot be used…they are not reliable. • The individual is just plain not bright enough to repeat their story. Crazy Thinking This describes the process by which negative attitudes in combination with belief in myths and stereotypes can create an action plan that is completely without merit in resolving a problem AND would never be considered for a similar individual or circumstance but for the disability. Crazy Thinking Just add the word “disability” to any discussion and things change in a hurry. Examples: “My boss is really a terrific guy. Fun, funny, creative, intelligent…AND available for a keynote. By the way, he has Cerebral Palsy & uses FC. Would that make a difference?” Crazy Thinking Example: Questions are asked about consent to sex for a victim of a violent rape that was so vicious that surgery was required to repair wounds inflicted upon her. Crazy Thinking Example: A suggestion that an adult with mental retardation receive treatment at a Children’s Advocacy Center for the sexual assault she suffered “…after all, she’s just a big kid since she has a mental age of 7.” Crazy Thinking Example: A suggestion that an adult with mental retardation receive Sex Education (instead of psychotherapy) as “treatment” for the gang rape he experienced. Crazy Thinking Example: Parent of a teenager, along with the professional case management team, had him sterilized because they feared he may become gay. Crazy Thinking Example: Young teenager removed from his home, school and neighborhood for patting the clothed and diapered bottom of a 2 year old in full view of the parent. Sexual assault charges let to placing him in an institution for 2 years far from home, to learn appropriate sexual conduct. Crazy Thinking IT IS UNLIKELY that any of these plans would ever occur to anyone unless there was a severe mental disability. Certainly, they would not be implemented. Language: P.C. or Respect? • The language we use…words and phrases…show our feelings and attitudes. To demonstrate respect and high regard for others, it is important to use the words those of that “group” have agreed is most pleasing to them. Language: P.C. or Respect? • Racially and ethnically, we have adapted to changes over the decades in preferred language to use such as Latinos or Hispanics, and Blacks or AfricanAmericans, rather than terms that in the past had been preferred. • Likewise for people with disabilities, it is important to “keep up” as changes occur. Language: P.C. or Respect? • People HAVE disabilities, not ARE disabilities! • Thus one would say, “the young man who HAS Down Syndrome” • One would say, “Johnny, who has cerebral palsy” • If there is no need to mention the disability…don’t! Language: P.C. or Respect? • If the boss gets a cold, one would not say, “The boss IS a cold”, one would say, “the boss HAS a cold”. Language: Do’s and Don’ts • Use “People First” language • Avoid any permutation of the word “retarded” except as a diagnosis • Don’t’ say “handicapped, cripples, lame, deaf & dumb” • Say, “people who have disabilities and people who are Deaf” Language: Do’s and Don’ts • Use powerful images such as “uses a wheelchair” NOT “wheelchair bound” or “the wheelchair guy”. • Don’t GROUP people with disabilities. There are probably more differences among those who have disabilities than compared to those who do not! Why is this so important? Negative attitudes towards people with disabilities has been identified as the most significant barrier for those with disabilities…much more so than the disability itself. Why Training is Important • So similarities and differences wont’ get overlooked. • To improve the experience of crime and abuse victims with Disabilities. • To expand skills, knowledge and cultural understanding of members of this population. CREDO • C - Compassion • R - Respect • E - Empathy • D - Dignity • O - Open to needs of the victim Overview of Disabilities In the United States, the Department of Labor estimates that there are 54 million individuals with disabilities, representing 20 % of the population 10% of these have “significant” disabilities that impact their participation in normal activities of daily life. Overview of Disabilities Characteristics of Disability • • • • • Congenital OR Adventitious Hidden OR Overt Chronic OR Temporary Progressive & Degenerative OR Static May have episodes of presence OR remission. Overview of Disabilities • • • • • • • • • Sensory Communication Mobility Impairment Intellectual Social (Personality or Autism Spectrum) Psychiatric (Bio-Medical, thought disorders) Medical such as Neurological, Endocrine etc. Orthopedic Respiratory Overview of Disabilities • Having a condition in one category does not mean the person has a disability in another category • One MAY have conditions from several categories or within a category • Each individual may express the symptoms of the disabilities differently Asking the Right Questions • In our desire to do a “good job” , it is of critical importance to recognize when we are entering an area that is outside our knowledge and/or skill or expertise. Asking the Right Questions • Having the personal and professional integrity to recognize when additional resources are needed, in the form of information or professional consultation can assure an excellent effort was made EVEN THOUGH the outcome may not be what one would have wished. To summarize Attitudes • Those beliefs and feelings about individuals with disabilities should be cleared of old negative cobwebs and replaced with positive feelings and an open mind about the individual’s abilities, hopes, dreams, hobbies, skills, attitudes and daily life. Skills • With our understanding that the biggest negative in working with children and adults with disabilities is our culture’s negative attitude, your skill in demonstrating CREDO throughout your contact with crime victims with disabilities supersedes any knowledge gap that may arise. Knowledge • Your knowledge that there are several categories of disability, • That a disability may express differently in each individual and even sometimes differently within the individual Knowledge • Helps to guide one in asking the questions of those knowledgeable about the disability AND how this affects the individual • To be prepared for proceeding with managing the case. Resources • Learning more about myths and stereotypes • Learning more about disabilities • Finding “people” resources to be on your team or to be available for consultation when needed Thank You We will take your questions now. We will be sending an evaluation to you to complete 5 minutes before the end of the hour. We will notify you of the live Chats to delve more deeply into this subject You will be automatically placed on the forum for classroom discussion.