- How this works
- Legal capacity
- Types of support
- Areas of life
- Further reading
Ceva de Spus is the first independent self-advocacy association in Romania. It aims to build confidence and empower self-advocates by offering support that is person-centred. The support available for making decisions related to work or personal life begins with high levels of support and is reduced as the self-advocate increases their confidence in decision making. The aim is to enable the self-advocate to be autonomous but with the knowledge that support is always available when it is needed.
Ceva de Spus
Self-advocates are supported to:
The support offered is person-centred and helps self-advocates manage work and personal lives. The latest news and relevant legislation is explained using easy to understand language, examples, and pictures. Self-advocates are prepared for meetings by talking through the agenda items and social expectations prior to the meeting. Regular training is also provided to the board on social skills and engaging with other self-advocates.
Ceva de Spus was established three years ago in Timisoara, Romania and is the first organisation in Romania to be managed by self-advocates. Its membership includes self-advocates with all types of disabilities ranging in age from 22 to 50 years old. The board of the association is made up of 5 people with disabilities (3 with intellectual disabilities and 2 with physical disabilities). The board makes all decisions concerning the strategy and activities of the association. There are also two professional supporters with experience in the disability field (one as a psychologist and the other in advocacy and management). The association is financed by a private foundation (OSI).
Description of practice
Group support is offered at meetings and when deciding strategies, activity plans, or explaining the law or current events. Individual support is also offered to address the specific needs of self-advocates. Self-advocates discuss their problems and things they want to change and the supporter helps them shape the activities. Activity reports are produced by the board which describe the activities undertaken by the association as well as the financial reports produced by the manager. When deciding about changes, the manager present the alternatives, the effects on the work, and, with support, they decide as a group. A lot of support goes into understanding the consequences of actions and long-term planning. To address this need, exercises, role-play, the ‘what if…’ game, and personal development groups are all used. When there is no danger to individuals or to the association, self-advocates are supported to be on their own, to make decisions without support and then the results are analysed in terms of costs and benefits. A small group of self-advocates are also training to become peer supporters.
The person-centred approach is appropriate for Ceva de Spus, as the needs of self-advocates vary. The practice has good results and some of the people supported have developed very well. The negative aspect of our practice is that the individual needs are so diverse and vast that the supporters are overloaded. Basic needs must be taken care of (such as managing personal money, taking care of health problems, and behavioural issues) before support can be offered for work. This happens because self-advocates do not receive any other support and there is no personal budget or funding available for a personal assistant.