just arrived: vol 2 no 1 of the Journal of the Christian Institute on Disability

I have mentioned Dr. Jeff McNair of CalBaptist University in past posts (here and here). Jeff is the senior editor of the Journal of the Christian Institute on Disability (check this post about an article that we wrote together for that journal). Jeff has sponsored a 4 day leadership SRV workshop in California, and often mentions SRV and Wolfensberger in his own blog and writings.

The latest issue of the journal has a number of articles relevant to SRV theory and implementation. Over the next couple weeks, I will post about some of these articles. I’d like to start with the lead article by Angela Novak Amado entitled ‘The courage to bridge worlds.’

First, though, about the journal: As may be obvious from its name, the journal is focused on issues around the church and society in terms of children and adults with a variety of impairments. Students of SRV will remember that one of the role domains described in SRV is that of ‘cultus, values,’ which includes roles related to church membership (Wolfensberger, SRV monograph, 2013, p. 50). The article “Some of the universal ‘good things of life’ which the implementation of Social Role Valorization can be expected to make more accessible to devalued people” by Wolfensberger, Thomas and Caruso (1996) describes one of these ‘good things of life’ as “a transcendent belief system that gives the human being spiritual anchors” (Wolfensberger, SRV monograph, 2013, p. 176). Churches and other religious congregations do offer one normative avenue toward integration and participation.

Back to Amado’s article ‘The courage to bridge worlds.’ The article is an important read for those interested in SRV for several reasons. It addresses the enormous segregation gap which still exists in our society, and in other societies around the world, between those who are societally valued and those who are societally devalued, particularly devaluation in response to physical and intellectual impairment. It analyzes this gap from a social, systemic and human service perspective. It also makes recommendations for action. Each of these pieces resonates well with SRV theory, including SRV’s coverage of societal devaluation and wounding (Wolfensberger, SRV monograph, 2013, pp. 21-44). Amado’s article especially ties in with the wounds of rejection, distantiation, relationship discontinuity and predominance of ‘boughten’ relationships. However, it also connects nicely with the SRV theme of personal social integration and valued social/societal participation. Lastly, Amado analyzes both programmatic and non-programmatic issues related to the above. The article includes a description of two national (US) programs aimed at supporting local congregations to support freely-given relationships with those who have impairments.

One helpful heuristic which I believe SRV can add to this discussion is the focus on societally valued roles, specifically in terms of personal social integration and valued social/societal participation, as brought out for example in leadership level workshops on Social Role Valorization and in Lemay’s February 2006 article entitled ‘Social Role Valorization Insights Into the Social Integration Conundrum’ (Mental Retardation, 44(1), 1-12).

Marc Tumeinski


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