SRV in the News – Chy Johnson and Her Boys

This article (Chy Johnson and Her Boys) caught the eyes of a member of the Southern Ontario SRV study group of which I am a member.

By now, many of you may have seen the article as well, but it is worth pulling out a few points of the article to illustrate the SRV lessons it contains.

One point that we talked about in our study group was the idea of value by association. The young girl featured in the article, Chy, benefits from the positive juxtaposition to the valued football players at her school. As Wolfensberger (1998) states in the SRV Monograph: “A party’s image will also be profoundly affected by the people with whom that party is associated, as captured in the folk phrase that people are ‘judged by the company they keep’” (p. 64). While we often see this playing out in negative ways (such as when people with physical impairments are juxtaposed, i.e. served in the same programs, as people with intellectual impairments), I believe that this article presents a positive example of image juxtaposition.

Of course, the article isn’t perfect as there are certainly some image issues with how Chy herself is portrayed. For example language such as “Chy’s brain works at only a third grade level…” effectively places Chy in the (eternal) child role.

This article contains several other SRV issues that I have not commented on. Please feel free to bring these to our attention in the comments section.

Steve Tiffany

Posted on November 18, 2012 at 10:53 pm by stevetiff · Permalink
In: Uncategorized · Tagged with: , , ,

5 Responses

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  1. […] Social Role Valorization … effectively places Chy in the (eternal) child role. This article contains several other SRV issues … In: Uncategorized · Tagged with: image juxtaposition, SRV, valued social roles, Wolf Wolfensberger …  […]

  2. Written by Holly Morgan
    on November 25, 2012 at 12:19 pm
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    The article states, “Just step back a second. In some schools, it’s the football players doing the bullying.” I automatically thought about Wolfensberger’s 3rd theme, the power of mind-sets and expectations. The article, although trying to make a positive comment towards the football players at this school is really categorizing football players negatively by suggesting they are bullies. This is the same type of thing that happens for students with disabilities. They are categorized into a group unfairly.

    Furthermore, the article goes on to discuss where Chy use to eat lunch. “I asked Chy to show me where she used to eat lunch. She pointed to a room in the back, away from the rest of the kids, the special-ed lunchroom.” This made me think of Wolfensbeger’s 7th theme, the importance of interpersonal identification between valued and devalued people. In order for all people to live the good life, everyone must have access to the good things in life as Wolfensberger states. Building relationships between individuals that are valued and devalued can certainly be a great place to start in closing this segregation gap.

    Overall, I absolutely loved this article. What these boys did was sweet and genuine. If only we could get more people in the world like them, what a beautiful place it would be!

  3. Written by Brittany V.
    on November 29, 2012 at 11:00 am
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    This article was really heartwarming. It’s a great feeling knowing that there are some caring people out there that want to stick up for others. Bullying is a hurtful thing, and I wish there were more loving students out there that were in school to stick up for their fellow peers. I think a lot of people can learn something from the article.

  4. Written by Felisha P.
    on November 29, 2012 at 11:07 am
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    This article was really uplifting! Just coming from field placement and seeing how other awful other children are to those children with special needs. It is not the just the children who are mean, it is also the teachers. It was nice to read that these kids took the initiative to make a difference on their own. No one forced them to do any of this. When we look at Wolfensberger and the wounds that those who are devalued experience it is nice to know that these boys are changing the school society’s views on Chy. I hope that more people read this and realize that those with disabilities deserve to be valued members of society too.

  5. Written by Angela DiPasquale
    on December 3, 2012 at 10:06 pm
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    This article was very moving and shows how little of an action can do so much. It also shows you how important social image is to teenagers and how important it is to be seen as a “cool” kid. Wolfensberger says that devalued people are usually those who are impaired and they can be wounded because of it which we saw in the beginning of this story, but it was the few who changed the trend. It is hard to watch bullying go on, but it almost is harder to stop and the way the boys stopped it was amazing. It not only stopped the bullying, but gave Chy new friends and that others were looking out for her. I wish more kids were like this and accepted everyone for who they are and not because they are popular because the kid they devalue with disabilities could turn out to be a great friend.

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