Achieving Normality


I would argue that one of the biggest benefits of disabled people directly employing personal assistants is the increased potential to achieve normality. By this I mean achieve the ability to have the same rights, responsibities, expectations and outcomes as anyone in their position without an impairment could expect. So someone can feel and act ‘normal’ while also celebrating their difference.


I am not sure why but I have always had the expectations and ambition to achieve what my non-disabled peers are doing, and more. While I have required a range of services and professionals in my life since day one I have never let them control me, even when they have tried. As far as I am concerned that despite how unique my lifestyle may be, I lead a normal life which I take full responsibility for.


When I see how many social care professionals are embracing the concept of personalisation, it frustrates me how much ‘say’ they often believe users are capable of or even should have. They often seem to see users are automatically lacking ability to make decisions and take responsibility for them because of their impairments. While some users may indeed require support to make decision, there still have the fundamental right to be in control of their lives.


I feel for some professionals, the more they think they understand what personal assistants are, the less they understand I lead a normal life. I am often asked the most basic questions about my relationship with my staff. They often ask if I ask them to do what I way in way that assumes  I do not take any responsibility for my actions and that my personal assistant has the right to ‘veto’ anything they feel is inappropriate, which they do not, not receiving a p45 for the privilege! That last statement shocks many professionals!


Normality is a goal many people forget when they talk about independent living or personalisation, but it is a measurement of outcome which should be desired.

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