Are support workers friends?

A commonly asked question is can a support worker be a friend?  If your goal is to help the person you support to build friendships, then my view is that the answer needs to be no. There can be a murky invisible line between friends and support workers because they can feel very similar can’t they.  This diagram shows the similarities and differences. I  encourage supports to not to say they are friends because if Read more…

Key values and principles for good life building

Sometimes amazing, beautiful, wonderful, well-intentioned humans can do some not so good things without intending to  that have bad outcomes for people with disability. Even us parents who love our disabled kids dearly do and we don’t even realise it. We’ve grown up learning our beliefs about people with disability from the people around us – our parents and our peers and we may not even be aware of these beliefs. I remember walking to Read more…

Checklist for getting set up as an employer

Decide what kind of business legal structure (if any) you want to set up –  incorporated association, company etc. Get an ABN  – or a WPN if you decide not to set up a business structure. Get insurance – workers compensation and public liability insurance policy Work out how much you will pay under the the SCHADS Award Hire a book keeper Recruit staff Write contracts and position descriptions Check if you need to pay Read more…

10 Reasons why policies and procedures are a must

1.They set boundaries Employees must understand that there are rules that they must abide by and procedures that must be followed.  They must understand that failure to follow them has consequences. 2. Safety One consequence of not having policies and procedures in place is that there is no safeguard in place to protect the employee from injury and that can result in penalties to the employer. 3. Scope of practice Policies define the scope of Read more…

Setting up environments that increase the chances of friendships forming

Friendships can’t be forced.  But there are things we can do to increase the chances of friendships forming. Janet Klees proposes 5 Ps Janet Klees is a Canadian expert in building relationships between people with and without disability.  She proposes these 5 Ps: Person – know in depth the interests, skills, and conditions for success around this interest. Place – find the places in the community where this interest can be shared Presence – show Read more…

Don’t count your friends by the number of parties you go to

Building friendships for our family members with disability isn’t easy. How we define what a friend is will be really important for how we go about supporting friendships. If we don’t know what a friend is, then how can we know if we have them or not and our strategies for making them are working? Avoid Narrow Definitions of Friendships We can often fall into the trap of defining a friend very narrowly leaving us Read more…

Stepping Back

It’s a scary thing leaving your vulnerable loved one in the hands of others.   We have all seen those stories in the news.  It sure leaves a terrible fear in my stomach when I think about it. But being there every day, day after day to make sure things are done right isn’t sustainable is it.  So what can you do? My son now lives independently from me.  In order to do that I needed Read more…

What’s your leadership style?

Participative v Authoritarian Do you believe your staff love their work and take pride in doing the best possible job? Or do you think that they see it as a burden, and just do it for the money? These assumptions can influence how you deal with people. Douglas McGregor in this 1960 management classic The Human Side of Enterprise described two types of managers – Authoritarian  and Participative which still holds today in management theory. Read more…

Help your team understand their purpose

As a leader part of your role is to help your team to be very clear on their purpose and where they are heading. Writing a manifesto can help you clarify what you believe and what type of contribution you want your team to make to your family member’s life and the wider community. A manifesto is …. A written statement to publicly declare your intentions, motives, or beliefs. From the Latin manifestus — to Read more…

Trusting your team

Trust is Key When your family member’s support workers feel you trust them, they will be more willing to voice concerns and offer suggestions to improve on the way things are done.  If there is trust among team members they can focus on delivering the best outcomes without the worry of making a mistake in front of their colleagues.  They will be more willing to give things a go and work together. Working with a Read more…