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Early days in the community I lived with a family in Caterham Valley but she used to keep having nervous breakdowns. She used to be ever so funny. And then, because there was nobody in the house when I went home one day, I got frightened and ran off. I lived there, stayed there. I used to help look after the old people in Caterham.

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I used to help them do the cleaning. A social worker, a man, decided this, but that was only supposed to have been for a short time. It was at Old Lodge Lane. I just gave it up. And then she said she was gonna have another one, and she had Gloria. Then they started to get more and more and more, till there was 13 living there. I thought it was time I adventured.

I stayed as long as I thought I could stand it. And I said, right, this is enough, and I asked.


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I moved there in May Life now Mary is my carer now. Gloria lives in South Croydon with Nora.

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Nora is like Mary, a carer. So Gloria lives there and on Saturdays I go there to see her. I go down the seaside, I go places. Because when I first came out I had to learn to get on the bus and go to the places I want to do. I taught myself to go to Brighton. I had to. They showed me what train to get on. That was new to me as well.

I even go to Margate.

You have to go to Victoria and get a train from Victoria. I joined People First two or three years ago, when Isabel asked me would I like to join. This was last year sometime. That was the biggest conference yet, that was bigger than Mencap put together. That was good, Canada is one of the good ones. But I think I would have liked somebody else to come because it would have been more exciting with somebody else. Declan said it would have been nice for somebody else from Croydon to come as well. I do a few jobs for Declan, like going out talking to people, and help tidying their office, and doing all the little jobs they need to do on a Monday.

Declan pays and keeps the money for me, so it pays for my trips and what-have-you. Me and another fellow is going to do that, two days a week for three months. Two days every week, for three months.

Voices and Visions from Ethnoculturally Diverse Young People with Disabilities

One of them we had to ask could they go out because she was making so much noise. They talked about different things, they want more money to go to day centres. I think the smaller places are much better because I think the carer can help a bit more and she can teach you to do the things that you want, you should be able to do. I think they are starting to do that now. The others feel the same.

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They used to call us horrible names, some of the names you would never dream of. They stopped it, even in Purley, and the teachers go with them now. And the children would not leave him alone, they used to tease him and everything, and he used to sit on the floor. One Saturday I was with one of my friends and one of the women was so rude my friend was really shocked. You do what you want to do and not get anybody else to do something for you. They do miss out. I think they get a bit frightened. Living out in the community, a lot of it, even for me, was new when I first started, so how must they feel?

If they lived with their mum, OK, because their mum could watch over them. But if they come out of a big institution like I have, or a few of the others, they are not going to be able to do it. They need support and somebody to teach them to do the things they should be able to do.

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To put them in a flat is murder. But if I had to go into a flat and pay all the bills and what-have-you it would worry me to death, and I think it would worry anybody else as well. I think it would upset me, and the least little thing upsets me. Note 1 The rest of the hospital has subsequently been demolished. Mabel was guest of honour at the party held to mark the end of its life.

As with other chapters in this book it highlights the importance of listening to, and learning from, those whose voices have often been silenced. Giangreco The information included in this article is based on a semi-structured interview conducted with Norman Kunc by Michael F. Giangreco on July 4, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The interview was tape recorded with Mr. The contents include selected portions of that interview and have been reviewed by Mr. Kunc to ensure that his opinions and ideas have been accurately presented in his own words.

Norman Kunc pronounced Koontz is a sought-after consultant and speaker on a wide range of educational, disability, and social justice issues. He was born with cerebral palsy and attended a segregated school for students with disabilities from the age of three until 13 when he was included in a general education school. I have had the pleasure of being in the audience on a number of occasions when Norman has spoken, and each time I have come away with more to think about and act upon.

His message is at times provocative and his insights are undeniable. Here is a bit of my afternoon with Norman Kunc. Michael: Norman, thanks for taking time to sit down with me. Norman: Physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. Each specialist had her own room and they would pull me out of my classroom for a half an hour to an hour to get therapy, two to three times a week.

Michael: Could you tell me about some of your memories receiving those services? To answer your question, I remember thinking that the physical therapy room was a very weird place. Michael: Why do you say that?

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Norman: They had all this strange equipment and weights and mirrors and bars. But the weirdest part of the physical therapy room was the staircase. Now walk back down the stairs. When I was in segregated school, I fundamentally saw myself as deficient and abnormal. I saw myself as inherently different from the rest of the human race.

The implicit message that permeated all my therapy experiences was that if I wanted to live as a valued person, wanted a quality life, to have a good job, everything could be mine. Receiving physical and occupational therapy were important contributors in terms of seeing myself as abnormal. Every part of my life, from the minute I was born, told me that I was abnormal, whether it was getting physical therapy, going to Easter Seal Camp, or wearing leg braces at night.

Michael: How did you react at the time? Norman: Well I wanted all those things, to have a good life — so I ended up declaring war on my own body. I was bound and determined that I was going to conquer that disability.