Developing Supported Employment [PDF]

Tell Me a Story of Deep Delight

An Account of the Work of a Network of Families in the Durham Region*

John O’Brien

7th EUSE Conference 17 June 2005

“We are clear that the position of disabled people in European society is beginning to change. This is primarily as a result of the demands of disabled people that their full rights as citizens should be recognised & protected.”

Over the past 60 years, activist disabled people & their allies –chiefly family activists and personally engaged professionals– have fought hard for and won significant policy victories. Their efforts have re-framed political & professional discourse and are beginning to influence the direction &, more slowly, the level of public investment. There is increasing agreement that public policy & professional practice should deliver…

…access to every dimension of political, cultural, & economic life

…adequately funded, individualised active support for inclusion that is controlled by disabled people (with necessary assistance when intellectual impairment limits decision making ability)

As the number of policy victories grows, the gap widens between policy & practice, especially level & direction of public money. Reducing this gap should be the priority for all who practice supported employment. It playing our part, we can draw energy & inspiration from the well-springs of supported employment.