Agencies should practice human rights but not all of them do. Without human rights, counselors and managers can do anything they want. They can do anything to people with disabilities – even violate the First Amendment.
Here are a few examples on how to practice human rights:
1. Purchasing food.
When group homes residents are given their own money to do their own grocery shopping, I think it’s ok they purchase them as long as it meets group home guidelines, i.e., that person can’t buy water or pork-related products like smoke sausages. However, I believe it’s a violation when counselors serve that food to other people who live in the home. It’s practically throwing that person’s money away! I know one person who put his name on his food to keep it from happening. I think this concept is common sense. If they didn’t buy it, don’t serve it!
2. Bedtimes and curfews.
Residents are told when to come home when when they out. Like for example, be back at 8 or 9 p.m. They also have a time to go to bed, like 10 p.m. would be considered bedtime. Whoever heard of a grownup (with or without a disability) with a bedtime or a curfew? They should not have these restrictions and that rule should apply to children and teenagers.
3. Restricting the people to their community.
A client can go any where, but since he is known as a liability, he is once again restricted. If people have the ability to travel outside their community or city and go out in the metropolitan area or to other suburbs, then they should be allowed to do so.
4. The right to appeal a decision.
When people are on unfair probation or restriction, they should have a chance to speak up about it. I know one person who is so restricted that he can’t use the phone or write letters to the person in charge. He doesn’t have to right to go to his next chain of command. When he did it, he was told he should not have done it. It was as if it was almost held against him. I not sure, but this restriction is possibly a violation of the First Amendment.
When some agencies don’t practice human rights, it is a violation of law, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. All agencies should practice human rights, so the people they serve can live a quality of life they chose – not a life in a controlled environment.
In my next editorial, I will write about human rights on the job for people with disabilities. That’s all for now.
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