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Dysfunctionphobia Key To Parents' Plight

Dysfunctionphobia Key To Parents' Plight

Media Release
28 February 2007

Dysfunctionphobia is the reason parents feel they are being put through the mill to retain support for their disabled children (The Press, 27/2/07), said consultant Philip Patston today.

“Dysfunctionphobia is similar to homophobia and xenophobia – it refers to the fear or hatred of being unable to function independently," said the gay, disabled comedian, who is also the managing director of consulting business the Diversityworks Group. "There exists in all individuals a subconscious fear of losing function and becoming disabled. It is this fear that causes bureaucracy to create inappropriate and unhelpful policies and practices."

"Currently, the way we categorise people as having impairment relies on a comparative framework of norms and expected levels of physical, intellectual, emotional and social ability," Patston said. "By some random criteria of comparison we define people as impaired or unimpaired, depending on their likeness to a socially determined notion of what it is to be normal."

Patston is calling for a more dynamic paradigm of functional change. "Notions of impairment need to be complemented by a more complex understanding of functional diversity, and the value placed on the ability to function independently. By being realistic and informed about the variety in people’s capacity to function, we can make far more useful decisions when developing policy and practice to support disabled children."

Ends.


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