In preparation for this reflection I read, "Social Work with People with Learning Difficulties" (Williams, 2009), "Social Work Values and Ethics," (Reamer, 2013), "Issues in Human Rights Protection of Intellectually Disabled Persons," (Dimopoulos, 2010), "Values and Ethics in Social Work" (Beckett & Maynard, 2012), and "The Dynamics of Social Welfare Policy" (Blau, 2007). I also referred to class discussions and my experience as social worker.
As a mull over the recent class lectures and readings about social work with individuals with learning difficulties and social work values and ethics, I wonder why the contemporary world sideline people with learning disabilities. This is because scores of social workers find working with individuals with learning intricacies extremely rewarding and interesting. According to Williams (2009), this field has experienced dramatic developments over the past years. The success of social work with individuals with learning difficulties links to virtual closure of huge organizations and their substitution with different types of community care. Over the past years, many commentators viewed social work with persons with learning disabilities as having achieved its high water mark through its own value base and dynamic and significant user movements.
During my placement with an agency that offers advocacy for individuals with learning difficulties, I realized that these persons hold an above average intelligence level. With proper intervention, recognition and many efforts, people with learning disabilities can learn and become successful members of the society. Individuals with learning disabilities require support to get their wishes and views heard. Advocacy allows social workers to speak up on behalf of these people, and it supports individuals with learning disabilities to gain ability of controlling their own lives. While working in the agency, my task was to ensure that the rights and privileges of people with learning difficulties remain protected and that the individuals attain the support and the services they need to live. However, the goals of the agency are attainable if only individuals with learning disabilities want the social workers to speak for them. This calls for understanding that the social work mission is to promote the well-being of people and assist them achieve their fundamental needs with special focus to the empowerment and needs of oppressed and vulnerable individuals (Reamer, 2013). In this regard, social workers must understand their own values to help others to clarify their values.
The society presents the right to a voice in history with respect to fluctuating understanding of a person's ability to benefit from that right. People with learning disabilities have experienced a lot of suffering because the society tends to question their essential humanity, hence, a right to a voice. I view people with disabilities as individuals with similar human rights and values just like any other person. If the society can adapt my view and understanding, individuals with disabilities will have a safe place to live in and enjoy equal rights with other people in the society. Every human being has a value which specifically crucial for persons who historically have been devalued by the society. Every person holds the capacity to grow and learn notwithstanding their form of disability, and the objectives of any human services focuses on supporting and enabling individuals towards attaining more valued social roles.
Social workers support social change and justice with and on behalf of poor, oppressed and vulnerable persons (Beckett & Maynard, 2012). However, social workers must be sensitive to ethnic and cultural diversity and work towards enhancing the well-being of the marginalized. The objective of social work profession calls for adherence to some core values. Service, competence, honesty, importance of human relationships, and dignity and worth of a person being among the core values of social work profession, and social workers must uphold these values in advocacy of individuals with learning disabilities. Social workers this field should draw on their values, skills and knowledge to assist these individuals and address the social problems affecting them.
The dignity and worth of a person with disability must be maintained at all times and social workers must promote an individual's opportunity and capacity to change, and handle their own needs besides engaging individual with learning disabilities as partners in the process supporting them. Valuing people entails the significance of advocacy for individuals with intellectual disabilities (Beckett & Maynard, 2012). Productive advocacy changes the lives of individuals through enabling them to express their aspirations and make real choices. Advocacy helps individuals put forward their ideas and play a crucial role in designing and planning actions that are reactive to their needs (Dimopoulos, 2010). Social welfare services and advocacy are crucial to individuals with learning disabilities. They offer support to these individuals s so that they can express and communicate the choices they make in connection with the provision of social care.
The advocacy approach for individuals with learning disabilities assumes that these people wish to have a say in the society and to enjoy equal rights and privileges just like other members of the society (Blau, 2007). Disabled individuals desire just and fair treatment for them to fit and take part in community life. The central concept of advocacy is that an individual speaks for his/her self or that an advocate speaks for him/her as if that person's voice was her or his own. In this case, the advocate must acknowledge his or professional values and establish a positive relationship between him and the client. To facilitate individual change, a social worker acknowledges the difficulties in interactions amid people and their environments. Reamer (2013) asserts that values are moral codes socially to control and direct human actions in social context. Social workers advocating for individuals with learning disabilities make informed decisions when dealing with injustices, inequalities and barriers that subsist in the society
I have gained understanding that advocating for individuals with disabilities calls for maintenance of personal values and ethics besides consensus between a client and the advocate. Establishing a practical relationship between the client and the advocate is paramount. Advocacy calls for honesty, competence and maintenance of dignity and worth of a person. Disabled Individuals hold high expectations from their advocates, and in future, I will strive to be a good advocate through maintaining the core values of social work profession. I understand that advocacy for disabled persons promote their well-being and addresses injustices and inequalities experienced by disabled people. I will call for strict adherence to professional social work values and ethics particularly, honesty, dignity and worth of a person and importance of human relationship. The readings and my experience have made realize that advocacy and social welfare services are vital to disabled individuals. However, social workers must channel their services towards promoting the well-being of individuals. Advocating for a disabled person promotes social justice and social change on behalf of my clients. However, I must respect and honor, the client's decisions and his feelings, and I should let not my emotions interfere with my work. Notwithstanding the condition of a client, social workers must uphold the dignity, value and worth of individuals and advocacy can only be successful if only the client requests for advocacy. When simple answers are inaccessible in resolving ethical issues, I should consider all the professional social work principles, standards and values pertinent to my practice.
I have learnt to uphold professional social work values and ethics through my commitments to my clients and self-determination. My commitment to my client is to promote their well-being and their rights and privileges. Helping my clients to determine and clarify their objectives in life have made realize how professional ethics and values can enhance the livelihood and status of marginalized individual, and how strict adherence to professional values can change the society into a better place. The mistakes I made in the course of…