Thursday, January 17, 2013

Promoting institutionalized care

We're being bombarded by a publicity blitz from the country's largest chain of gargantuan institutions for children with disabilities. They've got a monster in four different cities here. Every major newspaper has recently carried some version of their dishonest and soppy PR.

Here, if you can stomach it, is a sample, penned by their 'director of marketing and development'.
'I believe our society should celebrate these achievements the same way we celebrate a grown man running a marathon at a speed that many world-class runners would consider unimpressive...Week after week at [the institution] I see children do things they've never been able to do – and that many thought they would ever (sic) be able to do – because we believe in them, and we believe that everyone, yes everyone, deserves to have the opportunity to achieve. And if we have to adjust our expectations, based on the relative abilities of the severely disabled, then so be it."
Another newspaper related a visitor's impression of one those institutions:
"These kids were having such a good time, they danced for almost 40 minutes straight," he said. "They were so happy you could see it in their eyes and on their faces. I didn't quite expect that."
This operation isn't into calling a spade a spade. 'Residential facility' is the closest they get. Other promos of theirs just evade the issue by raving about the therapies that the children receive without divulging that they actually live 24/7 in those remote structures, hours away from their families and from any community.

While we struggle silently to love, nurture and advance our children, institutions like the one above tout themselves as the ideal solution for children like ours.

I am forever reading about institutions in other developed countries being shut down  and the residents being transferred to small, community-based homes or even back to their families! For instance "Slammed for 'warehousing' children in nursing homes, state pitches changes".

But I don't see that on our horizon. Here, institutionalization is thriving to the tune of thousands of residents.

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