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Who has the right to decide what makes a “good life” and how is that decision made?

Who has the right to decide what makes a “good life” and how is that decision made?

Who has the right to decide what makes a “good life” and how is that decision made?
Discussion: Ability Disability and Erasure

SOCW 6051: Diversity, Human Rights, and Social Justice

Discussion 1: Ability, Disability, and Erasure

Consider the notion that an individual with a disability may feel primarily defined by his or her ability status. Also, consider the historical treatment of people with disabilities and the number of individuals who were euthanized and sterilized in the U.S. and across the globe due to having a disability.

For decades, individuals with disabilities were left in institutions, hidden away from the rest of society. Parents were told if their child was born with a disability, they should have them locked away. Consider in today’s society how people with disabilities are still “hidden.” Think about how many people you see each day that have a visible disability. While there are many hidden disabilities that should not be ignored, it is significant to recognize the limited number of people you see each day with disabilities. Also, consider how others react toward a person with a disability in public. Do they stare? Do they move away? Do they invade the person’s space and ask inappropriate questions? What experiences have you seen in public with a person with a disability? Why do you think society has marginalized this group for so long? Why are those with disabilities limited or eliminated from full participation in society today? Who has the right to decide what makes a “good life” and how is that decision made?

To prepare: Read the case “Working With Individuals With Disabilities: Valerie.”

By Day 07/30/2021

Respond to two colleagues by refuting or supporting either your colleagues’ analysis of the marginalization and oppression of individuals with disabilities or supporting or refuting their analysis of the role of the social worker in working with clients with disabilities.

Colleague’s Response 1: Ashley Scott

RE: Discussion 1 – Week 9

Explanation of why our society has marginalized those with varying abilities historically.

Society has marginalized those with varying abilities by labeling them as socially dependent. The term disability labels those who lack a certain ability to be less than, “they cannot meet social expectations of performance” (Adams, et. al., 2018). Whether it is mentally or physically inabled, society has determined that they do not fit the ideal way of success and societal enhancement. The problem of oppression begins when society fails to offer those who live with challenges ways to overcome their disabilities, creating the mentality that disabled individuals are the eyesores of the public and have less value. Privilege is handed to those who can help the advancement of society. “Disability is also socially constructed by the failure to give people the amount and kind of help they need to participate fully in all major aspects of life in society, including making a significant contribution in the form of work” (Adams, et. al., 2018).

Explain the role of social workers in supporting clients with varying abilities (not limited to physical and mental) while recognizing and honoring those clients’ other identity characteristics.

In the case of Valerie, the social worker conducted a plan that would help Valerie take control of the areas of her life she could, which would overall empower her to feel she can make a contribution to society. The social worker veered in a direction that could best fit Valerie and what would make her most successful. The social worker found programs that were specifically designed for those who have disabilities to have the ability to lead a normal life without fear of rejection for being different from the societal norm. Supporting clients begins when all information about the client is accounted for, processed, and attained to create the best and most comfortable plan of action for the client to take on. The social worker helped educate the client about acts put in place to protect their rights and the social worker shared that the American Disabilities Act can help Valerie gain a better perspective of what she, just like any individual, is entitled to.

Resources

Adams, M., Blumenfeld, W. J., Castaneda, C., Catalano, D. C. J., DeJong, K., Hackman, H. W,… Zuniga, X. (Eds.). (2018). Readings for diversity and social justice (4th ed.). New York, NY: Routledge Press.

Plummer, S.-B., Makris, S., & Brocksen S. M. (Eds.). (2014). Social work case studies: Foundation year. Baltimore, MD: Laureate International Universities Publishing. [Vital Source e-reader].

Colleague’s Response 2: Ja’Sharee Bush

RE: Discussion 1 – Week 9

Adams et al.’s (2018) research shows that those with varying abilities were marginalized because it was seen from a religious perspective as being caused due to sin. Infants were killed, children were abandoned, and others were placed in jail or asylums (Adams et al., 2018). In the past, they believed that they could cure or fix individuals with varying abilities, and some were placed in freak shows. It was not until the 1900s when the disabled started receiving some form of fair treatment.

The role of a social worker when supporting clients with varying abilities is to make them feel a part of society and even though they may appear different or act differently they are still human. Valerie felt useless and as if no one would love or like her because she was disabled. Her social worker helped to rebuild her confidence and show her that she can be an asset to society (Plummer et al., 2014). Social workers are around to provide a service and help all individuals in need.

Adams, M., Blumenfeld, W. J., Castaneda, C., Catalano, D. C. J., DeJong, K., Hackman, H. W,… Zuniga, X. (Eds.). (2018). Readings for diversity and social justice (4th ed.). New York, NY: Routledge Press.

Plummer, S.-B., Makris, S., & Brocksen S. M. (Eds.). (2014). Social work case studies: Foundation year. Baltimore, MD: Laureate International Universities Publishing. [Vital Source e-reader].

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