Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Adult disabled children

Very quick post - I just want to pick up on something around the payments (or lack thereof, in many cases) to family-member carers of disabled people. One of many reasons the result is problematic is that it will pay parents but not a spouse or partner.

This is something that will disproportionately affect queer people, who are more likely to have no or a problematic relationship with their family of origin, who may well consider their partner their only family member. One of the more over-looked reasons for supporting this case was that by making multiple support options more equal, there would be less pressure to remain dependent on an abusive relationship or, hey, not feel obliged to live with parents your entire life for similar reasons to those most people don't, or who want a close relationship that is not based on "care".

But there's also a lot of infantilisation going on. Take the first sentence of this article: "A $92 million fund to pay parents who look after their adult disabled children has been revealed by the Government". Children. There was no reason for that word there - even with the decision as it is: "...to pay for care provided by the parents of adult disabled people..." would work just fine. But these parameters invite such wording; and it plays into the idea of disabled people as overgrown children, incapable of making their own decisions*, or having their own preferences about who they live with and who they depend on. And if that preference - or the best reasonable option - is parents, then it should be treated as such, not as the assumed norm.

*I think children are often more capable than we give credit for, but that's another post for another day.

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