There are so many interesting things in here it’s hard to know where to start. Perhaps with Sue Sharples – recently retired after a successful career supporting folks with learning disabilities in the UK, then applied to the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust for funding to look more closely at some things that she had a good but as yet unsatisfying grasp on. Like, relationships and folks with disabilities and sexuality.
When Sue enquired about what was going on in B.C. she got a few names, and then Barb Goode and I decided we would like to talk to her. Barb in the ’80s, despite her own hesitations, found herself first involved in the Eve Case and then later with the Lower Mainland Community Based Services Society (LMCBSS) as part of a team of self advocates supporting folks who helped them create a series of pamphlets and videos about relationships. Her thought was that obviously people should not be sterilised against their will, often not even knowing they had been sterilised and certainly not consenting, but that also they should have the capacity and knowledge to make good decisions about their bodies and relationships.
During my research on self advocate leadership, LMCBSS kept coming up, and the group of self advocate advisors felt that we could not move forward until we had wrapped our mind around what happened – few things remained, unfortunately, of all their work, and the agency they created and run had become part of a larger agency as part of a government restructuring agenda that was supported by some local organizations. However, they remembered their work around sexuality and relationships fondly as being “good work.”
Aaron, Barb and Sue Sharples
We had a great time chatting with Sue and Barb is now hoping to reconnect and meet some of the other folks who are part of Sue’s research – we were both surprised at how many different things are going on. You can read Sue’s whole report here. The last pages are what in the UK is called “easy-read” – here it would be called “plain language” (notice all the graphics!).
While I was writing this blog, this graphic kept popping up “by accident” – but it’s also very telling in this context. It is an art work by Michael James Schneider, of BLKSMITH. And he’s right – this is our one life. Too often this conversation about how to have successful, sexual, adult relationships gets left to the end of things or left out altogether. Sue, as you’ll see in her report, is one of many people who are trying to change this.
This is part of a series that discusses some of the person centred planning tools I’ve been looking at as I work on a new book. If you are interested in other tools click on the tag “person centred planning.”