"You who are so good at cars, can't you help me to change brakes?"
"Well, probably. But it has to be next week and you have to pay for it of course. You know what a car-mechanic earns by the hour. Should we say half the price?"
The text above is a made up dialogue between two neighbours, but it has surely taken place a lot of times. What about its correspondence on the welfare- and special-school competence area? Have you ever experienced that a friend asks about professional advice for his own or someone else's differently abled child? Have you suggested half the price - for old friendship's sake?
Probably not. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that welfare-competence is
indefinable, while the car-mechanic's knowledge is visible. Perhaps it is about evaluation
and things that are controllable. An experienced car-mechanic can in most cases do a quick
judgement on what kind of fault it isand give an approximate price and time. You can
easily find out if he had done a correct judgement or not by test-driving the car.
If a couple of parents will come to a group-home with their son it is very rare that the manager can give details of the methods they are working with, and how they will support the child's development. Managers usually shudder at questions about methods from parents and trainees. "Do you work environment-therapeutically or consequence-pedagogical, anthroposophically or according to SIVUS? Or is it little of everything?"
The answer is often: "We have a lot of warmth and consideration," and "We have a safety and welfare the differently abled appreciate." They thus refer to soft variables and sound like it is impossible to combine consideration and method.
A big exception is the TEACCH-method (Treatment and Education of Autistic and related Communication handicapped CHildren). Which by its concreteness is clearer and more suitable for evaluations than the more vague methods. The introduction of technology will also be easier if it meets a clear competence- and working model.
At the request of the national board of health and welfare, and the county commissioner a book has been published About welfare and competence. This is good. Conversations about competence-breadth as well as -depth and -multiplicity are needed on all levels.
The competence-discussion that is going on right now is mostly about possible consequences of the changeover from county council activity to municipal activity: "Will it be the school-psychologist who will come to the group-homes? Can a health visitor assistant really do a nurse job?". Etc.
We will here choose a completely different starting point and question once more if
welfare work and its personnel-competence ought to be dominated by care at all. The
differently abled persons are not sicker than others. Maybe it is not nurses and keepers
you above all need for advice and support in a personality-development? Maybe it is more
important with professional inspirers and instructors as craftsmen, artists, educationists
"To sum up we can establish the fact that what we know most about within the care
is talent-handicap, additional-handicap and how to take medicine. These branch of
knowledge make the role as a nurse clear. The investigation shows on the other hand on low
numbers for knowledge about the social individual, the social network and the history of
life. The result points at a preserving view on the human-being. Our expectations were
that the result would show on a more alteration view upon the human-being."
This is what Maria Carlsson and Maria Gunnarsson write in their essay in research upon social welfare, the autumn term 1993. Their conclusions are the same as ours.
Some of the problems with welfare of today are that you
We believe that the welfare-competence has to be challenged. Outwards by letting in the world around. Inwards by doing the personnel more heterogeneous. The competence will not be visible and can not be further developed if you do not put it into circulation.
Ruth, from your discussions with special-school- and welfare personnel - what kind of image have you got of their situations and strategies?
In connection with the breaking-up 1995, Tobias got his own Isaac-book with pictures he had taken of things he had done during the spring.
"It is of course different on different places and to different individuals. I can
only give you some glimpses of what I have met. A divide that is affecting the differently
abled and their personnel is going on. To differently abled who are adult this, to make
demands and to take initiative, is about a process with a very, very long period of
familiarizing. The conflict between generations is clear. Those who leave school now or
who are going in school now have a completely different clearness, understanding and joy
than what they had only ten years ago. Yet the special school is facing great upheavals.
It will be completely integrated into comprehensive school. The technology will affect the
possibility to learn and the very nucleus of learning. A reasonable guess is that the
special-school has great reasons as well as good possibilities to development, among other
things through new technology.
Within the care of differently abled people, that I have seen, it seems like many people would like to blow up the organizational planning. That's a sign of health. They feel they cannot help the individual the way they want to. They feel they only work with the general and the collective, but they want to work with the individual.
I have experienced how personnel have searched for contrast-tools when possibilities with contents have been neutralized by organisational obstacles. When you for example at alocality would reorganise the daily activity within the welfare, the personnel tried to stop the suggestion that the decisive would be where the differently abled participator lived. If you instead had cared about the content and what special-competence the personnel had - how would the groups within the different day-care centre then looked like?
The same question is of current interest for those who now finish school. If you let the map over the prerequisites of the individuals (the differently abled's and the personnel's) be guiding, you will have a vivid activity. If you let the geographical map guide you, the result will be something completely different.
In connection with novelty a lot of things are always stirred up. I have went through my notes from conversations about the Isaac project and there I have found the comment below from participating personnel about Isaac:
"I have started to look at the things that exist in the other world, outside our welfare-world, and how it fits together with ours."
"I have thought about the parents. If they only once had had the opportunity to see their little girl taking the bus, they maybe had accepted a lot more freedom for her."
"I usually have to look starry-eyed when I talk about my job - go in for a tremendous enthusiasm to raise my reality. When I talk about the same thing but by talking about Isaac, I have so much for free. I can tell people what I want to tell them, and yet people are motivated to listen."
"Isaac has created a contact between us, the personnel. Does this depends on the
fact that we all know equally little? Or does it depends on the fact that we would like to
do what Isaac now has made possible?"
When you cannot stand it as personnel, when it feels like all you can do is to go to the toilet and beat your head against the wall over and over and over and then go out and continue to work - what alternatives do you really have in practise? What kind of development-work is going on?
It is obviousthat individual conversations and inspiration are needed at the level of every-day life. But most important is to change
The start of the development does not have to be grand. A small example, that we have got through the Isaac-project, is such changes that are initiated if you systematically start to lay up banks of pictures and picture-sequences. Then the personnel have to think ahead rather than being a deputy maker at the moment. Then you can create sensible duty- foundations with greater possibility to flexible content and better distribution between day and night.
The issue with a more sensible duty-foundation is particularly important in those cases where the activity is concerning differently abled people who are in the need for many years nearness to a particular individual, to establish a good communication. The way you work today means that a lot of the jobs become so small you cannot live on them. This means rotation that hurts the differently abled persons.
The development within the personnel ought to be seen in its content to the
remainingactivity-development. Let us study a specific theme, and that is aggression, and
let us see what it demands on macro- and micro-level. The list will be long with measures
that have shown themselves necessary:
Well thought out employment.
Continuous education about aggression, fear, communication, role-distribution, side effects from medicine, sexuality, level of demands.
Self-defence, physical training and training of personnel-co-operation connected to violence. Changes of the physical environment to minimise violence and make it functional in those situations that will arise anyhow.
Give possibilities to active spare-time by materials and/or crew.
Continuous systematic observation and documentation of violent situations and threats.
Visits at other institutions that regularly handle violence, for example the police, psychiatry, guardians, emergency treatment and social welfare service.
A structure of the personnel-group that makes it possible to handle most of the violent situations, not only in an emergency but during a long time, with a margin.
A regular taking care of, of those who have been exposed to violence. Each and everyone ought to be given the chance to speak with, at least three persons they can get support from when they have been exposed.
During calm periods everyone uses the time to build up the competence of the personnel and at the same time work very hard with the one who are practising the violence. That way you can create possibilities for a decreasing violence in the future.
Accept that you as personnel cannot handle to support many people with physical characteristics in an active way during a long time. The structure of those who live there ought to be done with this in mind. Continuity within the personnel-group is a very important condition when you have got to handle violence and aggression.
Specialist-personnel should be there as consults all the time. The personnel at the group-home should work out a programme on how the contacts should be done. Especially at occasions when you need help quickly at an emergency situation.
Adapt work-schedules so the personnel do not have to work too long, for example during weekends.
Provide space for self-studies, attending classes as an observer, study visits, guidance, documentation, fellowship-support and thoughts for your own.
Work with (for example the expert-system Svarne) building up conceptions, processes and measures with connection to violence/aggression so everyone speaks the same language and feels they have tools to handle the different violent situations. What you can talk about feels less frightening.
Do not be afraid to discussion what the consequences might be for those who use violence to force through their own will. Are you allowed (legally, ethical etc.) to use language of force in the group-home? What happens if you as personnel have marked where the lines are drawn but there never are any clear resulting effects when someone crosses it? Should you as personnel accept that some violence towards yourself is a part of the job? Should you report it to the police or should you handle it "domestically" ? Should the friend in the group-home always be aware of the fact that they can be exposed to violence if they live there?
Accept that almost everyone is afraid of violence and realise that this is true also for the one who is practising it. Accept that serious violence rouse very primitive feelings, both to the one who is practising it as well as to the one who is exposed to it.
Accept that you cannot always understand or handle a certain persons aggressiveness.
Accept that it is very difficult, not to say impossible to an outsider to understand what it feels like to be exposed to serious violence.
Do not forget that violence is one of the very best ways to get attention.
Try to give the person attention when he is calm and ignore, when possible, provocative behaviour.
To move the person who is violent will not solve any problems, neither for the personnel nor for the person. To look at transportation as an alternative will only stop you from thinking out constructive ideas on how to respond to violence.
Never ever accept violence, in whatever shape it may appear.
It is impossible to reach even a fraction of this, the personnel do not have the
possibility to meet personnel from other places, read non-fiction magazines, have
individual conversations and further education etc. But far from everything demands
special-resources. Much can be arranged if the manager and the group give priority to
development-achievements. Imagine what it would mean if the welfare built up an active
There are a lot of books about activity-strategies. We just want to point at three concentrations we believe are important within an activity that also is be able to use the development of the technology:
When we now have ended up in a time of quick changes, organisations that once were adapted to their purposes now appear to us like clumsy dinosaurs. But individuals are still very moveable and have a sensible ear.
It is the overlapping of human networks that brings the culture and the society together. If there isn't any overlapping the system will fall like a house of cards. We have seen this in the East-States where they by prohibition of travelling and informing made the network of the people very small and separated.
In Sweden has the public sector been ahead of the economic life in much, but concerning the building of network they are way behind. Network within the welfare and special-school would contribute towards a dynamic stability within the development-work for the differently abled. Besides the network can be one of the solutions on the backside of the decentralization: that people are too isolated on their jobs, do not get any new ideas or support by experts and colleagues. If every employee built up at least two contacts with other personnel within other activities it would at least result in two effects:
A lot of knowledge will be put into circulation. Knowledge, that will move, become visible and developed.
Individual human being's network will start to overlapp. It is in fact an
overlapping like that, that constitutes the hidden hart within an activity. That prevents
it from falling apart like a house of cards when it is exposed to outer strain. That can
continue with its heartbeats in any organisation form what so ever.
Network demands that you go outside your own group sometimes. We believe that it is
necessary if you want to develop your work and look upon your experiences from another
point of view. What shape the network will take - if you meet, if you create conversation
groups on the net, if you have columns in the papers - does not matter. What is important
is that the experience-knowledge will be visible by being in motion. And that you, via
overlapping network are trying to accomplish stability in the quick changing.
2. Broaden recruiting
To recruit capable young people to lonely work, for example as personal assistant 8
hours a day, is neither easy nor right. Welfare work is marketed with very strong care-
and supporting -signs. You do not distribute any feelings that you have to use your brain
more than at any other job. By not talking about diseases, buckets and vacuum-cleaners but
instead showing the need ofcreativity, pedagogy, technology and art you should be able to
attract some of the young people who today study media, art and technology. Even men. The
educationmust of course be changed in the same direction as the profile of the recruiting.
3. More heterogeneous work-teams
In conversations without prestige in separate special- and welfare-connections, there
are four angels you have to think of:
All people and all organisations are mixtures of these four, but some people and some organisations are dominated by one of them. For individuals this is not only acceptable - it could be splendid. A person who are a good manager or blizzard-contractor or eager supporter for result or administrator is worth his weight in gold. But does she fit in, into the working-team? Yes, she does, if the organisation will form itself into a quartet that not only accepts but nurse the multitude.
Imagine the activity that could be created by an ideal-work-team based on people
similar to those four below:
THE MANAGER. Many maybe think that the manager is just a little too excellent and
predictable and wished there was more of an contractor inside him/her. But a good manager
can be worth all sorts of admiration. We want to give an example: the teacher Anna.
Anna could with very little means perform great achievement. Looked upon from the outside she seemed colourless and never came with any spectacular initiative. When people came on educational visits she talked in realistic way about the every-day work, while her colleagues sometimes described fantastic exceptions.
She got little encouragement from above because she did not give prominence to herself. The parents appreciated that their children seemed to feel well, but they seemed to lack the fireworks.
To work with Anna gave you a great confidence. Most things were predictable, because she planned both in short- and long terms. She knew in what situations there was a risk that someone could be frightened and worried. Before these she had prepared an acceptable retreat. There were always a lot of safety nets for the pupils who were not allowed to fall down and hurt themselves. Other pupils, who needed some danger, could change the world. She let them go to the shop on their own even though they had to cross a very heavily trafficked way. She believed they could do it, and she knew it would make them stronger. But she took at the same time a very big risk - if there had been an accident, she would have been responsible for it.
Every day you could experience that she made the pupils do things they did not think
was possible. She did it in such way that they did not feel unsuccessful. What on the
outside looked like routine and boredom was in fact tremendously dynamic and dangerous.
That it was a controlled danger did it even more thrilling.
THE BLIZZARD-CONTRACTOR. The most common blizzard-constructor is probably the young
deputy or trainee who has thousands of fresh ideas and strength and energy to carry them
through. Arne tells us:
"The one we are thinking of worked a couple of years ago at a certain group-home. In just a few weeks she had stirred up what had been status quo for decades. She took the differently abled with her out into the society and on concerts and museum. She helped them to advertise for girl- and boy-friends, and she made sure they became a part of the social network. As she was of the same age they were they met in the spare time as well. She did not separate work and spare-time.
She discovered that a man had an enormous underbite and therefor looked very strange. She asked us why he had not been at the orthodontics. We could not answer to that, we had not even noticed his underbite. She took him to the dentist who after a while installed a bar to correct the bite. She let them spend enough time in the shops so they could decide what they wanted to buy, and she worked in the small hours of the morning when someone's boyfriend had broken up and the girl needed someone to talk to.
She transmitted the infection to all of us and her believes that you can change
anything just if you want to. After the summer she quitted the job to return to her
studies, and when autumn arrived calmness had once again encamped itself in the apartment,
and everything was like it had been before."
Many people think that these sparkling contractors are more of evil than of good, since
they in a very short time put everything upside down and then disappear without taking any
long-range considerations of their impulsive ideas. But you should be extremely glad when
persons like this appears. They are great medicine towards stagnation. At this group-home
it happened that the differently abled many years after, in a giggling way told stories
about what had happened that summer. They wanted her back as a deputy.
THE EAGER SUPPORTER FOR RESULTS. An eager supporter for results in this context knows
fairly well how far it is possible for a differently abled person to develop in different
areas. From this he acts with results in his mind even if the outer conditions are lousy,
economic or bad personnel. Arne tells us:
"When the special-school did not want Rolf, or rather could not handle to educate him, we had to go to the eager supporter even though she was in charge of a day-care centre. She had her rooms in a dark corridor in an old and shabby building, but you soon forgot because you felt such an enormous warmth when you visited her.
At an initial conversation she was told that it was important that Rolf should not be allowed to keep things he had broken, since this led him to breaking more things. Already after one hour a radio got broken (if you can say like that). The eager supporter then put it in a paper bag and told Rolf to put it in the dustbin outside the house. Rolf refused of course, at which the eager supporter took him by the arm and went out together and threw it in the dustbin. An hour later the tape-recorder got broken and once again the eager supporter told him to go out with it. Rolf could not believe his ears. He refused, to put it mildly. In spite of this the eager supporter carried out even this deposit.
During the forenoon two similar accidents occurred, and the eager supporter then had to ask colleagues to help her take Rolf out to the dustbin. For those who know Rolf it was obvious what kind of immense power that was needed to accomplish this. Of course it had been easier not to see the third or the fourth accident, but she completed it. Partly because the group-home had begged her to do so, partly because she immediately understood that Rolf did not feel very well by having a lot of broken apparatus around him.
During this forenoon she achieved more of trust-building up than they had done in the group-home for several years. She received an immediate reward - Rolf did not brake one more thing from that day on at her place. He felt she kept her word, and that she cared about him. Then he felt secure."
THE ADMINISTRATOR. The administrator is someone people love to hate. Their activity is often represented as in the caricature above.
But the one who gives an organisation a structure, analyses the organisation, gives an
account ofit outwards and inwards, he/she has a key role. The good administrator has to be
a good manager, he has to bring in some of the blizzard-methods when there is a risk of
stagnation, and he has to be heavily focused on result. He has to play at the three fields
above at the same time. Our idol-administrator is a problem -solver,someone who helps us
to find practical solutions that are conventionally correct and aim at the future. Arne
"I remember that I in the 1970s sat as a union-representative in a group that was projecting a new day-care centre. All plans were sent to the national board of health and welfare, and then the plans were checked by Grunewald personally. At least that was what we thought. On one occasion we got the plans back with a major disapproval from the medicine-counsel. It was about the location of a day-care ward for disabled persons.
Grunewald could not accept that you within a day-care centre would separate disabled people from others by building special day-care wards. As I remember it, many persons in the group thought it was preposterous and bullying that you at the national board of health and welfare was sitting and checking building-plans from Skåne, and besides, they had the impudence to have opinions about them. But in the end Grunewald got his will through, and the day-care ward was cut out from the plans. With the result in my hand I can see that he was right about almost everything he had opinions about, and he was ahead of the time.
What made an administrative result-eagerness possible during this time was that you divided four new principles: integration, normalization, small group and nearness. You gave directions on how big a small group could be if it still should be called small, that is five persons. You said it was not normal that these five persons should share one room, but that they should have a room of their own. It was normal to have a job to go to every day, and that job ought to be out in the society with other people.
By the help of laws and fairly detailed rules the national board of health and welfare succeeded for a very long time and in a positive way to work as a driving organisation focused on result."
The quartet - the idol-team. If people like the ones mentioned above could work together and use each others knowledge - can you imagine what kind of activity that would be? Can you see how valuable the differences in their character and competence would be?
The key-words and the key-thoughts of the chapter
The welfare-competence has to be visualised
This can only be done by challenging the competence and putting it into motion. Outwards by letting in the outside world in. Inwards by a more heterogeneous personnel.
Network are needed for renewal and for a dynamic stability. Overlapping fellowship builds up a stability and contributes in breaking isolations.
Within teams people have to use each others different competence. We introduced four different persons in the chapter: The manager, the blizzard-contractor, the eager supporter for result and the administrator. All equally important.
The activity also needs pure inspirers and instructors, for example craftsmen, artists, educationists and technicians.
A breaking that is affecting the differently abled persons and their personnel is going on. The difference between generations is clear. Those who leave school now or who are going to school now have a completely different clearness and joy than what they had only ten years ago.
You create a different recruiting if you show on the need for creativity, pedagogy, technology and art, and do not talk too much about diseases, buckets and ordering taxi. Also men could be just as interested in welfare work as in media, art and technology. The education has of course to be changed towards the current direction.
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE(AI) is a knowledge-area that is at least as difficult to define as intelligence itself. AI part itself from natural intelligence by being totally based on technology for calculation- and mind-processes.
AI can simply be defined by what you work with within the area, for example
expert-systems, robot-steering, vision (artificial seeing), natural language and
speak-recognising, machine-learning, solution of problems and game-programmes.
EXPERT-SYSTEMS are computer-programmes that can recommend decisions or put diagnoses
from knowledge stored in the system(you can at the same time store more knowledge).
EXPERT-SYSTEM SVARNE, developed at CERTEC, is a mind-support in violent situations for
personnel and differently abled people.
ISAAC is a tool for development, a digital personal assistant you always can carry with
you. The hand-carried part and its electronics are placed in a satchel. You can use Isaac
partly as an ordinary computer (with touch-screen) and partly as a telephone, camera, GPS
and for sending wireless pictures.
CONNECTION-CENTRAL (SUPPORT CENTRE). Through Isaac the user can extend his/hers territories, mentally and geographically. When the Isaac user wants, she can always contact a person she knows. This person is the most important part of the connection-central, which is built upon a computer with special-software and a modem. From the support centre you can communicate about pictures the Isaac-user has sent, questions she has or she can be told where she is etc.
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