Cool Toys Pic of the day – National Service Inclusion Project (NSIP)

-nsip

National Service Inclusion Project (NSIP):
http://serviceandinclusion.org/

The National Service Inclusion Project has as their stated purpose:
“the active engagement of people with disabilities as service members
in all levels of national and community service.”

In their words:
—–
Disability impacts people’s lives in a wide variety of ways, and
the level of impact can range from minimal to extensive

In some cases, a person’s disability is a minor inconvenience,
something that is controlled through medication, or requires some
simple adaptations. In other cases, a person’s disability plays a
major role in their lives, impacting their ability to earn a living,
to participate in activities in the community, and to do many of the
things that many non-disabled people take for granted in their daily
lives.

Disabilities are often not apparent
Learning disabilities, psychiatric disabilities, epilepsy, and
multiple sclerosis are just a few of the many disabilities that are
often “hidden”. Never presume that someone doesn’t have a disability
just because it is not readily apparent.”

Disability is a natural part of the human existence
There has been a major shift in our society’s view of disability.
Disability used to be seen as an aberration, something that had to be
“fixed” before a person could fully participate in their community. A
more progressive view is that disability is simply part of a person’s
identity, not something to be fixed, and that people with disabilities
have the same right as anyone else to full participation in society.
—–
NSIP: FAQs: Etiquette: What Do We Mean by the Term “Disability”?:
http://serviceandinclusion.org/index.php?page=disability

I work in a service profession myself: Librarianship. I work in one of
the aspects of librarianship most focused on the services aspects of
the profession: Medical Librarianship. The most important parts of my
job to me are those that allow me to help others in direct or indirect
ways:
* to provide one-on-one assistance, face to face or via technology,
* to serve as an advocate for or liaison to communities,
* to provide support and assistance empowering healthcare providers to
be more effective in care,
* to be an active contributing member of research teams seeking
answers to important healthcare questions,
* to create informational and educational content to help people make
more informed personal health decisions.

Providing service, being able to help others, is a great part of what
gives my professional life meaning and purpose and joy. It is
important to me. When I have been in a position where it seemed my
ability to provide meaningful service to others through my work was
being reduced, this also reduced my enthusiasm and sense of purpose
for my work. Basically, I grieved over that loss.

Now, with such a profound commitment to service myself, I see the very
real potential for the ability to provide service as a meaningful and
enriching part of everyone’s life. As the mother of a special needs
child (now a teen) I am intimately aware of the tendency to, well,
conceptually minimize the abilities of those with special needs, to
make the assumption that because they need assistance in some areas
that they are incapable of helping themselves, much less others. When
stated that baldly, I hope the reaction will be, “Of course not!”, but
in practice it is a much more subtle thing. When you are helping
someone, it is hard to figure out where to draw the line and let them
help themselves, and even harder to say, “You know, you can probably
help this person better than I can. You’re really good at this.” It is
absolutely the hardest to do this when the person you are helping
expresses fear or hesitation or lack of confidence in their abilities,
or even insists that they CAN’T. It is so much easier to step in and
just help them, again, like you have been. I have friends who are
driven to provide service who unintentionally undercut the abilities
of those they assist by overdoing it, providing too much assistance,
too much support, never giving the other person a chance to develop or
practice skills that would make them self-supporting. When does
providing service actually disempower or harm the recipient of that
service? When it weakens the recipient rather than strengthening or
empowering them. I think perhaps physical therapists and similar
professions know this best – to help you will mean it hurts first, but
you’ll get stronger, and you will like being stronger.

The National Service Inclusion Project attempts to bridge this gap.
They provide opportunities for those with disabilities to provide
service and support to others, opportunities that also build necessary
skills and open doors to employment. Many of my friends with
disabilities have found ways to accomplish similar goals.
* the woman with multiple sclerosis who founded an organization to
provide education, support and social environments for others with
disabilities;
* the man with ventilator-dependent muscular dystrophy who studied law
and advocates for the rights of the disabled;
* the many people with mobility impairments / hemiplegia / paraplegia
who are creating art in virtual worlds and creating a supportive art
gallery network for persons with disabilities;
* ditto music; etc.
*
For those who want to expand their own ability to help others or who
have not found a way to advocate for themselves in this way, NSIP
offers a bridge to worthwhile meaningful ways to create a truly
connected community, with everyone making the most of their own
special skills and using those skills to support others.

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