Families & Individuals
Families are an integral part of the support people who have an intellectual disability need to have good lives. Community Living Ontario supports family members of people who have an intellectual disability to have the information they need to make good decisions. Family members are able, now more than ever, to have access to a wide range of information from other families, research, and government.
Some great tips:
Crossing Cultural Barriers
Many organizations these days are striving to increase their awareness and understanding of cultural diversity so that they can become more responsive and credible to a more diverse group of people. Cultural Competence is a set of values, attitudes, beliefs and behaviours that enable people to work effectively in a cross-cultural situation.
Support professionals and related staff have been seeking information about how to interact with families from specific cultures. "How do I act appropriately?" they ask.
While every culture has their own unique traditions, values, beliefs and attitudes toward disability, it's very difficult to isolate specific ways of interacting with people from a culture different from our own. By doing this you could run the risk of actually developing a segregated style or attitude.
When working with families here are some tips that families have shared with us for developing positive relationships regardless of culture:
- show respect
- be enthusiastic
- be sincere and honest
- dress appropriately
- listen effectively
Some cultures do have principles or customs to which they strictly adhere. If there are some specific things that you want to know about, ask the family before you meet them.
You can say "Is there anything I need to know about your family before I meet them?" or "Will I be speaking to both you and your husband?" If you are prepared ahead of time you will feel more confident for your first meeting and the family will appreciate that you asked.
It is important that families provide information about relationships with support professionals too, so please encourage them to share their customs with you.
Taken from Ensemble's Weekly Tips by Lisa Raffoul, ensembleunderstands.com.