power and disability



Someone contracting with you to do something is like a boss, but it’s a different relationship; such a person is a client and a client is more like a customer. It’s your job to do what the customer wants but the customer isn’t in charge of the business. Or maybe I’m off base. Of course, if the disabled woman didn’t hire and can’t fire this person, the person’s working for the parents, then, aren’t they?
I think the power relationships between assistants/PAs/whatever and folks with disabilities are a lot more complicated than that.
Even with a direct hire, it’s more complicated than other types of employment. For instance, hiring someone to write a webpage for you is really different than hiring someone to do things you need in order to survive.
Especially, given that when people murder folks who are disabled enough to need extensive care, they often get away with it.
And there are all kinds of complications I don’t understand well.
I don’t know more to say about this, though. Do any of y’all?

Disability support workers have a lot of power over the individuals they serve. Unless they are aware of this aspect of the relationship, it becomes a parent-child type of dynamic, which is wrong particularly when the individuals being served are adults.

Workers end up assuming that they know better than the people they support what is needed or wanted. They talk about and to these people in disrespectful ways. And it ends in abuse.

I think I can talk about this but probably only if people ask questions.

**Note that I have never received support like this and I only ever worked with children. I do provide community access to an adult now, but I am careful about how that plays out each time we spend time together and I ensure that their desires, needs, and rights are respected and I encourage them to be independent in whatever ways they can be (e.g., I drive the car where they choose, they order their own food if we go to a coffee shop and pay for themselves, I ask before helping them do anything even if they’re having difficulty).

I’d really like to hear perspectives of people who have support workers or receive this kind of support, if anyone wants to weigh in.