ERIC Number: ED412686
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996
A Tune beyond Us, Yet Ourselves: Power Sharing between People with Substantial Disabilities and Their Assistants.
O'Brien, John; O'Brien, Connie Lyle
This paper addresses the need to create relationships and supports that offer people with substantial disabilities the assistance they require to increase effective control of their lives ("power sharing"). The paper is based on experience and research in North American and British services to people with intellectual disabilities, autism, and cerebral palsy. The first section provides anecdotal vignettes to illustrate three different images of power sharing. The discussion that follows then focuses on four contemporary truths about disability and power sharing (such as the capability of most people with disabilities for problem solving and decision making). Power sharing is then defined in terms of its effect, its medium, the means that promote it, its absence, and the purpose it serves. Issues are itemized concerning what power sharing really implies for people with and without disabilities, such as difficulties in treating people as individuals first, regardless of the disability label. Stressed is the necessity of recognizing existing inequalities of power prior to achieving full power sharing. The relationship between the personal assistant and the individual with disabilities is considered in terms of issues of power sharing. The paper concludes with a call for new systems of service, aimed at support rather than dominance. (Contains 10 references.) (DB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (ED/OSERS), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Responsive Systems Associates, Lithonia, GA.; Minnesota Univ., Minneapolis. Inst. on Community Integration.; Syracuse Univ., NY. Center on Human Policy.