Donna is a person with a cognitive disability requiring advocacy support

Instruction Details

Donna is a person with a cognitive disability requiring advocacy support.  You are Donna’s key worker and her advocate. You will develop an evidence based approach advocacy plan in response to the scenario.

Donna is 25 years old and lives in a group home in suburban Melbourne. She has a mild intellectual disability and is visually impaired. Donna has a boyfriend called Patrick. Patrick is 31 years old, also has an intellectual disability and lives with his parents in the family home only a few kilometres from Donna’s group home. Donna and Patrick have known each other for about 6 years and met when they both began as volunteers at the local Meals on Wheels kitchen. They work in the Meals on Wheels kitchen one day per week and assist with deliveries on two days per week. They also attend a swimming program together on Wednesday evenings.

Recently, staff organising the swimming program found Donna and Patrick together in a toilet cubicle in the disabled change rooms at the pool. They were both naked. The staff separated them and have reported the incident to Donna’s family and the staff at her group home and to Patrick’s family. The staff running the swimming program have said that they do not feel that it would be appropriate for both Donna and Patrick to continue to attend the program but will leave it to Donna’s residential staff and Patrick’s family to ‘sort it out’.

Donna and Patrick  are upset and both wish to continue to attend the program. Donna’s support workers and Patrick’s parents have spoken to each other on the phone and have decided that ‘things have gone too far’ and that Donna and Patrick should no longer be boyfriend and girlfriend. Donna’s parents ask the staff at her group home to prevent her from seeing Patrick. They say that they are afraid that she may be having a sexual relationship with him and are concerned that she ‘doesn’t understand the risks’. The staff in Donna’s group home are unsure about what to do. Donna has told her parents that in the future she wants to move out of the group home and move into a flat with Patrick. Patrick thinks this is a great idea but Donna’s parents are adamant that this will ‘never happen’.

Carey et al. International Journal for Equity in Health (2017) 16:192

DOI 10.1186/s12939-017-0682-z

Sample Answer (Order for Original Paper)

Advocacy Plan for Donna: Supporting Rights and Autonomy

  1. Understanding Donna’s Perspective: Begin by engaging with Donna in a supportive and respectful manner. Understand her feelings and perspective about the recent incident, her relationship with Patrick, and her desires for the future.
  2. Rights Awareness: Inform Donna about her rights as outlined in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), emphasizing her right to personal relationships, decision-making autonomy, and freedom from discrimination. Provide accessible information using alternative formats to ensure she comprehends her rights fully.
  3. Review of Incidents: Gather detailed information about the incident at the swimming program. Understand Donna and Patrick’s version of events and assess whether their actions were consensual and respectful. Investigate if there were any underlying issues or misunderstandings that led to the incident.
  4. Family and Support Worker Collaboration: Collaborate with Donna’s family, Patrick’s parents, and support workers involved. Discuss their perspectives, concerns, and intentions. Highlight the importance of Donna’s autonomy and rights while addressing any apprehensions about the relationship.
  5. Educational Workshops: Organize workshops for staff, families, and support workers to understand the importance of relationships and sexuality for individuals with disabilities. Address misconceptions, emphasize consent, and discuss risk assessment and management in a balanced manner.
  6. Expert Consultation: Seek input from professionals experienced in intellectual disabilities, sexuality, and relationships. Utilize resources from research articles such as the ones provided to inform decision-making.
  7. Rights-Based Decision-Making: Empower Donna to actively participate in decisions about her relationship with Patrick, attendance at the swimming program, and her future living arrangements. Encourage open dialogue and collaboration to ensure her preferences are considered.
  8. Risk Assessment and Support: Conduct a thorough assessment of the risks involved in Donna and Patrick’s relationship, using a person-centered approach. Develop strategies to ensure their safety while respecting their autonomy, consent, and dignity.
  9. Advocacy Support: Engage an independent disability advocate, as suggested in the disability advocacy fact sheet, to ensure Donna’s rights are protected and her voice is heard. The advocate can work alongside Donna, Patrick, and families to facilitate open communication and informed decision-making.
  10. Future Planning: Explore options for Donna’s desired future living arrangement with Patrick, keeping in mind her rights and best interests. Facilitate discussions between Donna’s parents, Patrick’s parents, and relevant professionals to find a solution that supports Donna’s autonomy and well-being.
  11. Regular Review: Establish a periodic review process involving all stakeholders to assess the progress of the advocacy plan, evaluate Donna’s well-being, and make adjustments as necessary.
  12. Documentation and Accountability: Maintain clear records of all discussions, decisions, and actions taken throughout the advocacy process. This documentation will serve as a reference and ensure accountability.

By following this evidence-based advocacy plan, Donna’s rights, autonomy, and well-being will be upheld, while also addressing the concerns of her support network in a balanced and respectful manner.

Related Questions

Question 1

  • Briefly describe a situation in which you needed to persuade another person (or group) to see things from your point of view or to do things according to a particular method or approach.
  • Be sure to include specific tactics you used to persuade the other person (or group) to agree to your position.
  • Analyze the results of your persuasive approach, including what insights you gained from this experience.
  • What went particularly well?
  • What didn’t go so well?
  • What was the outcome?
  • To support your response, be sure to reference at least one properly cited scholarly source.

Question 2

In Race: The Power of Illusion, part 3, many groups of people who were considered white when they arrived arrived in the U.S. in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. What could this mean for the racial demographics of the U.S. in 2050 or some other future point in the 21st century?

Question 3

Would you follow orders of an authority figure? Watch the following clip and discuss the influence of obedience on our behavior. What factors in this video could have increased the likelihood that the victim and the others involved followed orders? What factors could have reduced the likelihood that all persons involved complied with the “authority figure?”

long answer and watch the video:


Complete Answer:

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