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I would like to tell a story, which I experienced as an underwriter in a planning. Mrs. Jung lives in an institution for people with physical disabilities. She is about to retire and would like to move to a home for the elderly, as she wants to live in a quiet place. The assistant in the institution knows the personal future planning and asks external persons in order to set up the planning. The moderator and I see Mrs. Jung several times to discuss, whether she wants to make a plan and what her strengths and requests are. Mrs. Jung tells us that she does no longer want to go to the residents‘ meetings and that her chores (e.g. distributing clean laundry etc.) are too hard for her now. She would like more breaks, rest, time for herself and time to read the bible. But the residents’ meetings and chores are mandatory for everybody. Mrs. Jung mentioned several times that all of this is too much for her, but nobody listened.
About a year ago we (several parents) took over a small farm. The couple that was running it before was too old to continue the work. As our children used to play on the farm during their spare time and wanted to continue doing this, we decided to set up an association and took over the farm. That made us into farmers over night, having to take care of goats, rabbits, ponies and chickens. After a lot of work (group barn for the rabbits; conversion of a construction trailer into a new chicken home etc.) we had some time again for new ideas. Somebody asked if a young man with disabilities could help with the work on our farm. As we were happy about any helping hand, he started with the late Saturday feeding and locking service. Now Jan comes every Saturday with his mother or father and helps on the farm. He works increasingly independent and is able to look after the animals, feed them and lock the barns.
„New Paths to InclUsion Network“ Interkantonale Hochschule für Heilpädagogik Zürich,
University of Applied Sciences of Special Needs Education Zurich Switzerland, Judith Adler und Monika Wicki
1. Starting Situation
Personal futures planning was hardly known in Switzerland in 2013 and only a few places worked
with the aspects of this approach. The research and development project „The Future is Now!”- futures planning for adults with intellectual disability and their families - was carried out in Zurich at the University of Applied Sciences of Special Needs Education (HfH) between 2009 and 2015. The methods of personal futures planning were used in this project. About 130 families in Germanspeaking Switzerland took part in the informative meetings on the aspects of the new Adults Protection Act, which provides more self-determination for people with disabilities and, which came into effect in Switzerland in 2013. Afterwards about 40 families with their sons and daughters with disabilities participated in a series of 6 courses on futures planning.
For me as the Director of the Lukashaus it was a beautiful thing. I was pleased to get the project started.
It was not exactly new grounds for me and the Lukashaus. Already in 1994 I supported and implemented the idea of self-determination. The tools that helped me realize the project were the 1996 book by Marlise Pörtner, „Ernstnehmen – Zutrauen – Verstehen“ (respect – trust – understand), the German book „Vom Betreuer zum Begleiter“, (between care-giving and support) and „Selbstbestimmung“ (self-determination) by Willem Kleine Schaars.
With the project I could implement the new PZP instruments in many ways and learn a lot. These tools are easy to handle and can be well understood and used by people with disabilities, which was the ultimate goal: creating tools for the purpose of learning self-determination, self-responsibility and self-advocacy. This can and could be shown and implemented with the project. I am convinced that the further development will be successful. It makes sense to initiative other similar projects. Working in the area of the disabled means travelling on a rocky road and overcoming obstacles.
The meetings of the „track group“ gave me new impulses and fed the hope of change also in Switzerland. High mountains turn into small hills that can be overcome.