SRV Journal focus question: December 2010

The following focus question was published in the December 2010 issue of The SRV Journal. I look forward to your replies, thoughts, reflections and related questions:

“From an SRV perspective, ‘integration’ means ‘personal social integration & valued social participation.’ This in turn would require (a) valued participation, (b) with valued people (c) in valued activities that (d) take place in valued settings” (Wolfensberger, 1998, p. 123). In light of this understanding, remember the first time(s) as an adult that you were an active, ongoing participant in a particular activity & social group/setting. What valued role were you in? What roles were the other people in the social group/setting in? Who did you look to as role models? What ‘good things of life’ did this role open the door to? How did you initially become involved? When & how often did you participate? Where did the activity take place? And so on.

Drawing on this personal reflection, what can you learn, adapt & use to help societally devalued people/groups to acquire & maintain valued social roles in valued contexts & valued activities with other people in valued roles? Keep in mind that valued social roles are key to personal social integration & valued social participation. Lemay explicitly frames integration in terms of valued roles: “(valued) social participation requires a (valued) role in a given (valued) context; personal social integration is said to be occurring when an individual is engaged in (valued) reciprocated role activities with other (valued) role incumbents in a given (valued) social setting” ([2006]. Social Role Valorization insights into the social integration conundrum. Mental Retardation, 44(1), 5).

Marc Tumeinski

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