Self Advocacy and The Arc of King County

“You do not have my permission to use my picture or any image from our publications, website, blogs or Facebook.

Sylvia Fuerstenburg (Executive Director, The Arc of King County)

given the above restrictions put on me by the Executive Director of The Arc of King County, I cannot put a link to her blog on my site.  The name of the blog is Sylvia’s Blog and there is an entry on March 4, 2013 regarding self-advocacy to which I have attempted to post a comment.  My comment is below but may not be posted to Sylvia’s Blog as it may stay under “awaiting moderation” so that it will not be visible to others who may read the blog.

Cheryl Felak on March 5, 2013 at 7:48 pm said:  This post was not approved and was removed from the website.  I have therefore attempted to post again  – see note below:

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

I fully support the work of self-advocates but I also have some serious questions regarding self advocacy for those who are not able to be their own advocate. I believe The Arc assumes that everyone can be their own self advocate if they have the training to do so – as evidenced by the quote ” Becoming a self-advocate simply means protecting one’s own self-interests — demanding re­spect, reaching out for the services and supports needed to fully participate, and simply making others aware of what it means to be a person with I/DD. When you empower yourself in this way, you can then empower others to join in the cause with you.’

My reality and the reality of many who I know and work with, being their own advocate is something that they cannot even comprehend. This is why they need others to advocate for them and why they need guardians to help protect them. Are you saying then that the people who advocate for those who are unable to be their own advocates are not needed? How does The Arc value the concerns and work of these advocates who advocate on behalf of our most vulnerable who are unable to be their own advocates?

When a person has no concept of personal safety, how to stay safe, what they may need to manage their own personal care, is unable to figure out out to get things they may need for food, shelter, personal safety, and without someone there to help them every day to maintain their health and safety, how does The Arc envision teaching these people to be their own advocate? What if these people cannot voice their concerns? What if these people do not know what they need?

I do not see these issues addressed in connection with self-advocacy and I would really appreciate knowing how The Arc and self-advocacy groups address these issues and how they view the advocates who work on these people’s behalf.

 

I fully support the work of self-advocates but I also have some serious questions regarding self advocacy for those who are not able to be their own advocate. I believe The Arc assumes that everyone can be their own self advocate if they have the training to do so – as evidenced by the quote ” Becoming a self-advocate simply means protecting one’s own self-interests — demanding re¬spect, reaching out for the services and supports needed to fully participate, and simply making others aware of what it means to be a person with I/DD. When you empower yourself in this way, you can then empower others to join in the cause with you.’
My reality and the reality of many whom I know and work with, being their own advocate is something that they cannot even comprehend. This is why they need others to advocate for them and why they need guardians to help protect them. Are you saying then that the people who advocate for those who are unable to be their own advocates are not needed? How does The Arc value the concerns and work of these advocates who advocate on behalf of our most vulnerable who are unable to be their own advocates?
When a person has no concept of personal safety, how to stay safe, what they may need to manage their own personal care, is unable to figure out how to get things they may need for food, shelter, personal safety, and without someone there to help them every day to maintain their health and safety, how does The Arc envision teaching these people to be their own advocate? What if these people cannot voice their concerns? What if these people do not know what they need?
I do not see these issues addressed in connection with self-advocacy and I would really appreciate knowing how The Arc and self-advocacy groups address these issues and how they view the advocates who work on these people’s behalf.
I’m also very curious how The Arc addresses the issues of the incompetent person as defined in Washington State Law and guardianship. By definition of one’s disability and functional abilities some people are not able to make safe choices and by court order are unable to make those choices. How does The Arc address these people with regards to being a self-advocate?
The court realizes that some people are unable to make safe decisions and the court has taken steps to ensure there is a person who will make those decisions on behalf of those who are, by definition of their very disability, legally incompetent. This makes them dependent on their parents/guardians to represent them. Why does The Arc seemingly discriminate against court appointed legal guardians to advocate on behalf of their ward?

 

2 comments on “Self Advocacy and The Arc of King County

  1. Kathy says:

    Cheryl,

    I have recently discovered your blog and have made several comments here and on your LinkedIn posts. I think this post of mine will tell you much about me. I would welcome the opportunity to talk with you about this issue. http://reinventingaboomer.blogspot.com/2012/08/tunnel-vision.html

    Thank you,
    Kathy Brobst

    Like

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