Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Let It Be

Many of my regular readers know I made a professional conversion from a model of “rehabilitation” thinking and strategic practices to one of strengths-based practices many years ago. The reason is simple—strengths-based practices deliver more efficient and effective employment and community integration outcome results.
It makes no difference whether you live with disability or not, our greatest opportunities for excellence is realized by identifying and exploiting our individual strengths. I’ve learned over the years there is a fundamental truth in what author and speaker Marcus Buckingham says best: “As people get older, they really don’t change very much. Rather they become more and more of who they already are.”
Instead of trying to create fundamental changes in people through a process of “rehabilitation,” I believe we as a society will be many miles ahead by making a decision to accept people as they are and supporting them to identify, develop, use, and build upon their individual strengths, skills, and talents. In the business of disability and employment services, strengths-based practices are best engaged using strategies called discovery and customized employment.
Recently, I came across a video that emphasizes the core values of using strengths-based practices. Interestingly, this video entitled From service animal to SURFice animal deals with the subject of strengths practices through a heartwarming story about a “would be” service animal and her unique collaboration with an individual with a disability. Judy Fridono, the video's producer, said this about her epiphany in training a "service animal" named Ricochet--

“When I let go of who I wanted her to be,
And just let her “be,"
she completely flourished.
And I reveled in knowing
she’s perfect just the way she is.”

Let it be. This prophetic wisdom of a Beatle's classic applies to many lessons in life. And it holds an uncommon truth in the field of disability and employment services. People don't need to be "rehabilitated." They need to be supported in customized ways that enable them to use their individual strengths in the workforce and community.
In its simplicity, the video drives home the benefits we realize by focusing on putting talents to work. And apparently, the concept is universal. The video can be viewed by clicking on the link below. Enjoy!

From service animal to SURFice animal

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