Spotlight on Staff

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Barney had been institutionalized as a young child during the Depression, and had lived there all his life. The one constant in Barney's life through all his years at the institution had been his harmonica. When one would wear out, he would save up the pennies he earned over several months to buy a new one.
Mayer Shevin
The results suggest that behavioural causal beliefs, low self-efficacy and low behavioural knowledge may make staff vulnerable to experiencing negative emotional reactions to challenging behaviours.
R. P. Hastings, T. Brown
Because they do not appear significantly different from nondisabled classmates, students with hidden disabilities are held responsible and are blamed for aberrant behavior and performance.
Bryan G. Cook
This is a cross between a conversation and an interview, originally done for the Autreat 2004 program book. Both interviewer and interviewee have been institutionalized, and the interviewee has also worked in an institution. Some of the content will probably be disturbing to anyone who's experienced this kind of thing.
Amanda Baggs, D.M. Kahrs (editor), L. Tisoncik
Use of maladaptive coping strategies for challenging behaviors constitutes a risk for staff burnout. This risk is in addition to that associated with exposure to challenging behavior.
Richard P. Hastings, Tony Brown
Direct care staff in facilities which permitted the use of strong aversives reported more intense feelings of personal accomplishment on the inventory than did subjects whose programs were limited to the use of mild aversives.
S.L. Harris, J.S. Handleman, M.J. Gill, P.L. Fong
A pervasive pattern of condescension, degradation of others, and controlling behavior beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts... Staff Personality Disorder is sometimes seen in the prodromal stages of developing full-fledged Psychiatry Disorder.
Amanda Baggs, Institute for the Study of the Neurologically Typical
I am not the sort of person who calculatedly constructs different images to show to different people. I couldn't keep up with it. I have been told that I am remarkably consistent in my personality across all situations, whereas most people change a good deal depending on who they're around. But there are still lines I won't cross. And the vast majority of staff will never see some important aspects of me. When I am around staff, I do certain things in order to survive. When I am around friends, I don't have to do those things. Hell, when I'm around strangers, I don't have to do as many of those things.
Ballastexistenz
The source of children's problems can usually be traced to curriculum, teacher, administrative, parent or child factors, but informal school policy (school culture) dictates that staff conclusions about problems be limited to child and family factors.
Pamela Darr Wright
Some places talk about 'empowerment' when they really mean just putting clients in pseudo-staff roles and letting the exact same power structure continue. And of course the group I attended that was supposedly run by disabled people, where the entirety of what the 'leader' said was whispered into her ear by the non-disabled 'advisor' and the same 'advisor' exercised a lot of non-verbal control over what other disabled people did and did not say, was one of the best examples of 'empowerment' gone wrong that I've ever seen.
Ballastexistenz
The article concludes by recommending that research into staff attitudes and actions will be better served by reflexive methods and reporting which emphasize mutuality.
J.A. Clegg
The article concludes by recommending that research into staff attitudes and actions will be better served by reflexive methods and reporting which emphasize mutuality.
J.A. Clegg
Institutional culture demands a privileged group of experts to adhere to traditional ideology which is compromised by favouritism at both an individual and institutional level.
D. Holyoake
A focus group is a group of people with a shared interest who meet to discuss a particular topic and generate information and opinion. Initially developed for use in market research, focus groups have been widely used in research and are often used in health and social care research. There is an increasing use of focus groups within learning disability settings both with staff and with service users. In this study a series of explorative focus groups gathered information from community staff regarding their experiences of stress when working with people with learning disabilities and challenging behaviours.
Roman Raczka
This article is sarcasm. Although this article seems describe almost exactly how some people refuse legitimate accommodation, it is actually designed to show what not to do - barriers should be removed, not fought for.
Joel Smith
A study focused on insensitivity of adults to children was presented and discussed. The responses of 100 male and 100 female college undergraduates to hypothetical parent-child problem situations indicated a general lack of communication concerning the child's and their own feelings. However, when the problems involved adult needs being aroused and thwarted, the Ss' responses were both more insensitive and destructive than when the confrontation centered around only the child's aroused needs. In the latter case the Ss did focus their communications more on the child's feelings and how he or she could express them. The results have implications for understanding effective adult behavior and reciprocal adult-child influences on the development of child-behavior dysfunctions.
Gary E. Stollak et al
Many people staff included seem to have an overriding desire to minimize what's going on in front of them. I don't know if it's the "find common ground even where it doesn't exist" thing, or the "cover criminal negligence" thing, or the "I'm embarrassed by my privilege" thing, or the "talking about disability directly is demeaning" thing. But the end result seems to be the same either way... It does amaze me how people are willing to compare impairment or oppression to their experiences of just not feeling like doing something, or having to do things they don't enjoy. But when staff do it, it means they're most likely not going to hold up their end of the responsibilities.
Ballastexistenz
There are also theoretical implications in the students being so glib about attributing emotional states and psychopathologies to the patient. Being presented with a person in this context immediately sets up for them an 'explanation slot' which professionals typically fill with diagnoses, explanations and prognoses.
Paul Crawford et al
...admitting the way that our psychiatric knowledge is informed by the gender, race, class and the sexuality of those who write it may form part of the strategy for preventing it overlaying the voices of people we place in the role of patients. The debates over 'labelling' have deflected psychiatry away from paying sufficient attention to the very fabric of its language base and the dangers of corporate biographies linguistically entrapping individuals.
Paul Crawford, Peter Nolan, Brown
In conclusion we highlight the importance of looking at professionals' constructions of clients as organised accounts in their own right and discuss how the power imbalances in the process of keeping records can be addressed.
Karen Richards et al
This project aimed to provide an in-depth qualitative analysis of violence and threats suffered by members of the caring professions in the course of their work. It also aimed to identify conditions that were conducive to violent and threatening behaviour.
The purpose of this document is to explain the relationship between staff in National Autistic Society and affiliated Society residential establishments and the parents of the residents, and to establish guidelines for their interaction.
National Autistic Society
Self-determination is supposed to be about disabled people making decisions in our own lives, both significant decisions and (seemingly) insignificant ones. For instance, I can choose what kind of place I want to live in (within reason -- I suspect I wouldn't be able to choose a mansion without the means to buy one), I can choose my friends, and I can also choose what to eat for dinner tonight. For people who have a difficult time communicating in standard ways, experiencing self-determination can depend a lot on how carefully other people are paying attention, but it can still happen. So... on to some staffish mangling of this word.
Ballastexistenz
The escalating screaming-at-me method is awful. Don't know how to emphasize that one enough. For one thing, when I'm having trouble understanding things, having them shouted at me doesn't make me understand better. For another thing, that has in the past progressed to violence on the other person's part. Lots of people have started by saying my name louder and louder, and then shaken, kicked, slapped, hit, jumped on, or even picked me up and carried me off. This is not the sort of fear I want to have when I'm dealing with this situation already.
Ballastexistenz
Staff spend little time interacting with clients and the quality of interactions is often poor. Staff respond intermittently to challenging behaviours, and self-report studies indicate that many of these responses may reinforce such behaviors.
Richard Hastings, Bob Remington
Most disabled people are not going to talk or act in the ways that you have been taught are the only respectful ways to talk or act. Because most people are not going to talk or act this way. But around you, we're not allowed to be regular people. We have to be a mirror image of your values, because to you that is equality. You don't acknowledge this at all. You have all these wonderful bright shiny ideas whose original intent was to be respectful to us. But even when those ideas are correct, you act as if they are contingent on our acting the same way towards you. Whether or not we're capable of it. Whether or not our own value systems agree with it. No matter how much harm it causes us to go along with it.
Ballastexistenz
It's good to be cheerful. No one likes to be around people who are always complaining about things. I get very annoyed listening to people do nothing but describe how awful everything is, no matter how minor the problem really is. But, I'd add that even crabby, rude, inconsiderate, or even hateful people deserve to eat, be clean, communicate with others, and have other key services. Too often the provision of these services is dependent upon the person's "attitude". And if the person has a "bad" attitude, then they risk being deprived of their human rights because they haven't "earned" their human rights by being sufficiently nice or pleasant or whatever.
Joel Smith

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