Abstract of L. Berkman lecture


L. Berkman
Akim Israel

It is clear to any adult and his surroundings, that he is authorized to
make decisions in regard to his own life. When relating to an
intellectually disabled person, this authority is taken away from him on
the appointment of a guardian who then makes decisions regarding
his/her affairs and upon/her entering into a residential framework.
Many parents, who serve as guardians, act as they see proper and
correct on behalf of their child – without taking the true wishes of their
child into account. This is also true in many instances regarding
professional factors in the residential framework. Self advocacy –
'Nothing about us, without us', i.e. the ability and right of an
intellectually disabled person to make decisions in regard to his/her
life - starting with the clothes that they wear, the food that they eat,
and ending with the occupational and residential framework where
they will live - is still unclear and misunderstood and other people,
whether a guardian or professional factors – still make the decisions of
the intellectually disabled person, without consulting with him/her
regarding the quandary and decision. In the course of the meeting, the
personal stories of two intellectually disabled persons will be
presented – people who decided to take charge of their own destiny
and made decisions regarding their own places of residence and the
occupational framework where they would work. Their stories will be
presented by way of interviews with the individuals personally and with
their family members. In the framework of each interview, the
intellectually disabled person will present his/her personal story,
desires and decisions. The guardians of these individuals, their
parents, will present the dilemmas and necessary family preparations
in order to act in accordance with such desires.

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