Monday, 10 September 2012

THE OLYMPIC HERITAGE

Rhetoric and reality
I really genuinely think we have had a seismic effect in shifting public attitudes... I don't think they will ever see disability in the same way again

(Lord Coe)
Really?

It is getting on for nine o'clock on Monday morning. Most people are awake, out of bed and facing their worlds.

Many of face today in the presence motor disorders, either personally and directly or within their families. They will be 'supported' in what they do (or you might in many cases say 'constrained') by an enormous cast of extras, all with roles of their own to fulfill).
  • Education and heath workers will be doing whatever it is they are paid to do, using what understandings and skills they have acquired from whatever sources over their lives
  • Bureaucrats will be continuing to process their paper trails, intent upon securing the objectives of the systems that employ them
  • Lobbyists, politicians etc will pursuing whatever goals, for whatever reason, that they currently hold dear
  • Legislators will be grinding on with their already long-prepared legislative programmes
  • Writers will be writing what they know and, if they are lucky, what pays too
  • Researchers will be fulfilling their hard-won research contracts
  • 'Academics' will be following the module guides they are paid to deliver (or else)
  • College and university students being socialising into 'professions' will be looking at the same handouts and websites (perhaps even reading the same books) and going to the same lectures, given by the same people, as were provided before the summer break
  • etc...
And...
  • Most importantly of all disabled children and adults, and their families, will getting on with the business of their daily lives – and this includes dealing with the fruits of all those activities listed above. What fundamental change will they experience from how things were before?
Change?

Of course there is enormous potential for change, and of course discernible and general change take time – but what scale is the likelihood of meaningful effect upon the real lives of disabled people and their families? What likelihood at all is there that the governing ideology of the vast structure of disability services will have changed one jot, of the unspoken ideologies that lie behind them?

What chance is there, Olympics or Paralympics notwithstanding, that today's bright new dawn will see everyday social practice and understanding changed in any substantial way – to the default acknowledgement that human potential is not what it is, but what psycho-social processes make it, and that this applies to every single one of us?

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3 Comments:

Blogger Andrew DSutton said...

Coincidentally, I have just heard this little tale of everyday life in the UK for a family with a disability:

http://www.teamaroundthechild.com/allnews/campaignnews/753-nathan-was-born-in-the-same-year-as-ivan-cameron-here-is-his-story.html

Any worthwhile change here will have to be 'seismic' indeed.

Monday, 10 September 2012 at 21:54:00 BST  
Blogger NormanP said...

Legacy? Or just inspired by?
Do take a look.

http://on.fb.me/OXtAiM

Tuesday, 18 September 2012 at 23:04:00 BST  
Blogger NormanP said...

Legacy? Or just inspired by?
Do take a look.

http://on.fb.me/OXtAiM

Tuesday, 18 September 2012 at 23:05:00 BST  

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