Human Rights Collective Empowerment Social Justice Strengthening the Organisation Peer Mentoring ILMI VOICE Project Human Rights Collective Empowerment Social Justice Strengthening the Organisation Peer Mentoring ILMI VOICE Project Peer Mentoring What is peer mentoring? Independent Living is the right of all persons regardless of age or impairment to live in the community; to have the same range of choices as everybody else in housing, transportation, education and employment; to participate in the social, economic and political life of their own communities; to have a family; to realise their own potential and have the freedom to live the lives they wish to in an inclusive society.In order for someone to live independently, we need to recognise that Independent living is a person-centred approach, based on an individual’s choices and options not being restricted and putting appropriate supports for people to be in control.There is no “one-size fits all” or prescriptive system for someone to follow, and this is not only based on a person’s individual needs, but also due to the sheer scale of agencies (statutory and non-statutory) who deliver services that relate to independent living: Personal Assistance Services, issues relating to accessible housing, Accessible transport, education and training opportunities, accessible landscape, opportunities to engage in social activities and civil society spaces and employment. Role of the Peer Mentor In order for someone to live independently, we need to recognise that Independent living is a person-centred approach, based on an individual’s choices and options not being restricted and putting appropriate supports for people to be in control.There is no “one-size fits all” or prescriptive system for someone to follow, and this is not only based on a person’s individual needs, but also due to the sheer scale of agencies (statutory and non-statutory) who deliver services that relate to independent living: Personal Assistance Services, issues relating to accessible housing, Accessible transport, education and training opportunities, accessible landscape, opportunities to engage in social activities and civil society spaces and employment. How does peer mentoring work? It is the role of the peer mentor to arrange to talk to disabled people who want more information about Independent Living. It is the role of the Peer Mentor to have an initial conversation with the mentee and over the course of a series of conversations (zoom or telephone) give them the information to take further actions. These actions depend on the needs of each disabled person: PAS, housing, peer supports and so on.The peer mentor role is not about giving direction, advice or counselling. It is providing an initial space to for disabled people to connect and provide information / pathways to access supports and services. This can include suggesting getting involved in ILMI spaces or programmes. What are the services that disabled people can access? 1. Personal Assistance Service (PAS) What is a Personal Assistance Service (PAS)? The Personal Assistance Service (PAS) is a service that allows us to live independently. The PAS enables us to do all the tasks that we cannot do for ourselves. It provides us with the freedom and flexibility we need to live our lives as we choose. A Personal Assistant (PA) is hired to assist us with a range of day-to-day tasks that we cannot physically do for ourselves.With PAS we are in control and direct the PA to carry out tasks both inside and outside of the home, including personal care, domestic duties, assisting in day-to-day tasks such as shopping, support in the workplace or socialising. A PA does not “look after” or “care for” us. We delegate these tasks to our PAs and in doing so take back control of our lives.A distinct benefit of PAS is that it reduces our dependence on our family and friends. The confidential relationship that develops between our PAs and us allows us to maintain a private life and our dignity. The PAS is often the difference between existing and living for many of us.A PAS is for any disabled person who feels that they need support to do the things that they want to do, inside and outside the home.Want to know more about a PAS? Why not watch this video: Personal Assistance Services – ILMIWant to learn about the process of applying for a PAS? Click here pdf version to access our Pathways to PAS – Click here MS Word.Want to know more about managing a PAS? Click here to access our Leader Manual.Want to know more about peer mentoring? Email email@example.com and tell us what you would like to know more about. 2. What is Assistive Technology? Assistive Technologies (AT’s) are a highly varied class of tools and systems which give greater choice and control for disabled people to do the things they want to do. These include specialised equipment to “mainstream” technologies and systems that have inbuilt inclusive accessibility that enhance disabled people using these tools.How do I access AT? Currently, there is no national policy for providing disabled people with the AT supports they need. Unfortunately, the provision of AT is dependent on where people live, how much resources their CHO area have (or school or education setting) or the accident of having someone in an education or HSE setting who is aware of the transformative power of AT in disabled people’s lives.Disabled people are often unaware of what AT is available that could give them greater control over their lives and support them to be actively involved in all aspects of society: such as education, employment, cultural and political spaces. Assessment of AT supports is highly medicalised, and is often led by Occupational Therapists (OTs) who lack training in what AT is, or the social model of disability. Often, when disabled people are aware of what AT supports they need, they often have to educate their OT on why they need this support.The system is highly bureaucratic, slow and unresponsive to the needs of disabled people. Where OTs have limited budgets, AT is often seen as an expensive and not worthy of investment in comparison with other people’s needs. Disabled people are routinely denied the choice of what they need based on systemic constraints within the HSE and no centralised budgets specifically ring-fenced for AT.Many disabled people have the situation whereby they get a small taste of the transformative power of AT in education settings, but once they leave the supports stay with the school or college and find out that they are no longer supported to access the AT they need for employment or engagement in civic and public life. Video sourced from RTE News Facebook page. The Government has been urged to significantly boost investment in technology which helps disabled and older people to live independently. 3. Housing and disabled people Having a place you can call your home is a vital part of disabled people having control over their lives and who they live with. Some disabled people own their own homes, but due to lack of employment for disabled people, many disabled rely on access to public housing to have a home of their own.The system itself of applying for a house and the associated supports required to live independently is not accessible to many people. The system is confusing.A disabled person must apply for housing with their local authority and then there is added confusion in attempting to apply for social care supports to live independently (see section above for Pathways to PAS).The extensive waiting lists for social housing through Local Authorities is pushing people into availing of the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme. However, most private rental accommodations are not accessible to most disabled people.Housing Adaptation GrantThe Department of Housing has a grant for making home adaptations to enable disabled people to continue living at home. The means test applied to this grant is harsh and the amount of the grant often does not cover the cost of home adaptation.