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I was a bit late for this session which ended up running late. Since I had to get back over to the Marriott, I didn't get to hear the whole thing. I will email the presenter for the notes she said she could send me.

First, the basics were covered. This was stuff I learned about in health class, the types of abuse in general and what the warning signs were. Then, the specifics to having a disability were discussed. People with a disability have different opportunities for abuse. When you need help with things (being turned, having a home health aid, even using a reader), you have the potential for abuse. If the home health aid leaves early or late as revenge or spitefully, there can be some huge problems. The abuser can withhold medications or needed assistive technology. The abuser can also damage the technology.

The escape from the abusive environment is tricky as well. The person may have to leave without their technology or mobility aid. The shelter may not be accessible. Even the information on whoto call probably isn't in accessible format.

There was more that I missed, but this is the basic idea. I enjoyed this presentation immensely. If I go into social work, I will want to help in any way I can. Knowing the obstacles is important. Knowing that this important issue is getting out there for discussion is a very good thing. No one wants to think about abuse. It's not a light topic for the dinner table. But it is important, and abuse, like any difficult distructive issue, doesn't discriminate. The sooner we implement inclusive systems to address these issues, the better.



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Apr. 2nd, 2006 07:54 pm (UTC)
mental abuse
My father was an wheelchair-bound amputee. He hired a woman to clean the house and do light chores. She also brought her daughter along. They only spoke Spanish, so my Dad was at a loss. Before my father died, I found out that she brought the girl in to steal. With skill, they kept it up. My dad was at their mercy. She was well-paid but it wasn't enough. She had relatives from Mexico that she wanted to sponsor. Basically, they had to pay a "coyote" to sneak them across the border. At that time I was working 3 jobs to make ends meet and couldn't clean Dad's house. He put his trust in this woman and was robbed. This experience made me bitter.
Apr. 2nd, 2006 11:27 pm (UTC)
Re: mental abuse
I'm really sorry to hear aout what happened to you and your father. People who help people with disabilities are in a position to either empower those they help or try to rip them of their dignity. I'm sorry your experience was the latter. It's truly awful.
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