We teach people with disabilities to advocate on behalf of themselves and others.
We are a group of approximately 100 people with and without disabilities across the south region of Alberta (from the British Columbia border to the Saskatchewan border to the U.S. border to Nanton).
We have a special reason to celebrate: on June 6, Alberta’s Human Services Minister Irfan Sabir announced the provincial government would no longer use the Supports Intensity Scale test.
This was a test that the Alberta Government chose to decide the support needs of people funded by Persons with Developmental Disabilities (PDD).
This two to four-hour test asked people questions about the support needed for home living, community living, employment, hygiene and building relationships.
People with disabilities felt this test was too long and asked too many personal questions that shouldn’t have been asked. Because of this, people felt stressed about taking the test. The results were also hard to understand.
Self-advocates and service providers spent a lot of time speaking up to the government about their concerns by meeting with local and provincial officials, making presentations and writing letters.
We would like to thank Minister Sabir for stopping the SIS test. The voices of self-advocates have not always been heard; we feel empowered because we finally get to have a say in decisions that will affect our lives. We are excited and overjoyed that no one else will have to take the SIS test. We can sleep better, too.
We appreciate that the government is listening and continuing to be open-minded. We understand the government may not always use our ideas, but we appreciate the opportunity to be part of the conversation.
People with disabilities are part of the province too; giving us the opportunity to share our stories educates the community and shows that we are people too. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to do that.
To learn more about the SIS, be sure to read the Ripple, our self-advocacy newsletter (www.saipa.info/theripple). There, we provide the government with ideas on how to better decide people’s support needs.
The South Region Self-Advocacy Network