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Peer Networks influencing how service provision happens

This is a peer network story from a family member who wishes to remain anonymous. 

"At one of our peer network meetings we got to talking about how to support people living with disability into community opportunities. A couple of parents talked about how difficult it was to ask about opportunities on behalf of their son or daughter, because of the risk of hearing ‘no’, which means another rejection for their child. No parent wants to hear their child being rejected, so they don’t ask; it feels too hard.

So then we were talking about what if someone else did the asking for the person/family?  It could be someone in their network who knows the person and can go in to bat on their behalf.  To help identify who this could be, the group then talked about what a good asker would look like. Suddenly we were producing a list of qualities on butchers paper. On the paper were a bunch of ideas, for example about the asker knowing their community well, being well-connected themselves, being personable and diplomatic, and having a strong commitment to the person who they’re doing the asking for.

We also talked about the role of service providers, and if there was any reason why they couldn’t do some of this asking. Isn’t that the point of ‘person-centred’, to provide supports focused on the individual unique person?  If so, then asking is one of those supports.  So one of the things the peer members decided is that they would go talk to their service provider about how they could change their recruiting and training practices so that their day support staff have these qualities.

This felt like a great outcome from our peer network meeting, and shows the good ideas that people can create together."