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I recently saw a short video online that asks the question, “What if people with intellectual disabilities got to decide what was and was not appropriate for their staff?” In the video, a caregiver is reading a comic book and the person served says that he and the other guys who live in the house don’t think that reading the comic book is age appropriate for the staff.

Here is a link to the video on Facebook if you’d like to see it.

https://www.facebook.com/open.futurelearning/videos/2145248972233061/

Can you remember a time when it was decided that an interest or activity of someone in your care was deemed age, gender, or socially inappropriate? Certainly, there are situations where a particular activity may be limited if it is dangerous, but should staff really be limiting the interests or activities of people served because they don’t think it’s appropriate for some reason?

In Chapter 5 of The Mandt System when discussing Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports, we remind caregivers that a behavior being “different” isn’t a reason to try to change or limit that behavior. Consider how you would feel about someone telling you that you could no longer engage in a preferred activity or interest because they thought it was inappropriate for you to do so.

Doug ZehrVogt, Mandt System Faculty

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