Professional Development for Support Workers

Recently I was invited to talk to a group of Support Workers as part of their professional development day.  While I have a lot of thoughts and ideas of what good support could and should look like, it occurred to me that not being a user of support services meant I wasn’t the best person to be presenting on the topic.

So, I asked Payge, our fantastic admin person, the Loud and Clear Qld representative on a national committee for people with intellectual disabilities (Our Voice), and someone who does access support if she would like to present.

Despite being nervous, Payge agreed.  We discussed an outline of the important messages we wanted to include and Payge created a series of slides.  Payge shared her thoughts, asked the Support workers what else they could do or try, and encouraged them to ask her questions. 

Payge discussed Human Rights and Disability Rights and what they mean to her.  She asked the Support Workers what they thought it meant to treat her with respect and to share their examples and experiences.   Payge shared some scenarios and asked how things could have been done differently to get a better result for the person with a disability. 

Another thing important to Payge is Communication, specifically taking the time to understand how best to communicate with her.  This included allowing time for her to understand and respond and addressing the conversation directly to her. 

Payge reminded the Support Workers about her right to Privacy and to take safe risks.   Payge presented a scenario about wanting to do an activity that a worker felt was not safe.  She asked for thoughts on how to get an outcome that allowed her to build her confidence by taking risks with the right safeguards in place.

There was great discussion and interaction throughout the session and Payge admitted afterwards that she was only nervous for the first few minutes and then grew confident in her abilities.

If you want to know how best to support a person with a disability, ask them.  They will tell you! 

Other News and Stories