A Credo for Support: People First Version
Authors: Norman Kunc and Emma Van der Klift
This powerful 5 minute video offers a series of suggestions for people who care about and support someone with a disability. These suggestions are intended to prompt viewers to question the common perceptions of disability, professionalism, and support. Designed for use in presentations, in-services, staff training, and orientation programs, this video can be a provacative catalyst for dialogue on these issues. The video is set to music.
Originally produced in 1995, a revised version was created in 2006 intended to be more respectful to people with disabilities. In this revised version, the credo was not reworded but is read by members of People First of San Luis Obispo, California. The self-advocates are shown on screen as each reads a line of the credo. The original version, narrated by one person with only words shown on-screen, also continues to be available
Name: Norman Kunc and Emma Van der Klift Title: Axis Consultation and Training Address: 340 Machleary Street
Nanaimo, British Columbia V9R 2G9
Here is the revised video version that is read by members of one People First community:
A Credo for Support
Throughout history, people with physical and mental disabilities have been abandoned at birth, banished from society used as court jesters, drowned and burned during the Inquisition, gassed in Nazi Germany, and still continue to be segregated, institutionalized, tortured in the name of behavior management, abused, raped, euthanized, and murdered. Now, for the first time, people with disabilities are taking their rightful place as fully contributing citizens. The danger is that we will respond with remediation and benevolence rather then equity and respect. And so, we offer you a credo for support.
Do not see my disability as a problem. Recognize that my disability is an attribute.
Do not see my disability as a deficit. It is you who see me as deviant and helpless.
Do not try to fix me because I am not broken. Support me. I can make my contribution to the community in my way.
Do not see me as your client. I am your fellow citizen. See me as your neighbor. Remember, none of us can be self-sufficient.
Do not try to modify my behavior. Be still and listen. What you define as inappropriate may be my attempt to communicate with you in the only way I can.
Do not try to change me, you have no right. Help me learn what I want to know.
Do not hide your uncertainty behind “professional” distance. Be a person who listens and does not take my struggle away from me by trying to make it all better.
Do not use theories and strategies on me. Be with me. And when we struggle with each other, let me give that rise to self-reflection.
Do not try to control me. I have a right to my power as a person. What you call non-compliance or manipulation may actually be the only way I can exert control over my life.
Do not teach me to be obedient, submissive, and polite. I need to feel entitled to say no if I am to protect myself.
Do not be charitable to me. The last thing the world needs is another Jerry Lewis. Be my ally against those who exploit me for their own gratification.
Do not try to be my friend. I deserve more than that. Get to know me. We may become friends.
Do not help me even if it does make you feel good. Ask me if I need your help. Let me show you how to better assist me.
Do not admire me. A desire to live a full life does not warrant adoration. Respect me for respect presumes equity.
Do not tell, correct and lead. Listen, support and follow.
Do not work on me. Work with me.