Rehabilitation Seminar, Day II (notes)
On the second day at the seminar I participated a workshop with a big name: Physical Functioning, Activity and Participation: research and education for health professionals in rehabilitation. Focus on physiotherapy and occupational therapy. So I started listening very eagerly. Esko Mälkiä, PhD. PT from The University of Jyväskylä, hosted the workshop and did it quite humorously and excellently. Nevertheless, I was a tad disappointed: the focus was clearly on physiotherapy and in my opinion it didn’t quite fill all the expectations regarding participating.
A couple of excellent speeches though. PhD, PT Birgit Steffensen from The National Rehabilitation Centre for Neuromucular Diseases in Denmark told how remarkably they’d managed to put together a continuous, guaranteed rehabilitation pattern for children (and adults) with the disease in question. Some unique team effort had been put together by the rehabilitation professionals and the Centre (being an NGO) to both develop the actual rehabilitation and to also put on the political pressure to guarantee the needed services. Quite impossible to imagine that happening in Finland. I think the political climate and willingness is far from Denmark’s historically flexible, human and empowering politics. Feel free to argue, please do that in the comments! 🙂
The maybe most interesting speech was the one by Reg Urbanovski, EdD, OT from Canada, who talked about rehabilitation and labour market. He stated that the on-going practices are not flexible enough and actually let the most vulnerable ones always fall first. There’s not even a beginning of a change for displaced people with non-adequate workplace constitutional skills. Regarding employment of the least likely Urbanovski stated it’s critical to ask: how to improve the quality of life of an entrepreneur (as to make it profitable to hire these outcasts)? Considering the problem from the employee’s point of view makes it possible to create long-term and hopefully human solutions for the labour marker. Win-win.
Urbanovski presented that in a modern world all the citizens need the skills for life-long learning. The emphasis has shifted from having the routine manual skills into having the routine cognitive skills which are the ones usually lacking within marginalized groups of people. And this is so true as I can tell from experience: my own dear big sister has MBD (current ADHD) and a mental handicap and yet she is a hard working, loyal, precise and priceless employee. Until sudden changes take place. Changes require flexibility, flexibility requires adequate cognitive skills and quick, abstract thinking to be able to organize your work again. Fast learning skills are a key skill at any work place. That’s when she’s in trouble, unfairly.
I know these marginalized (usually part-time working or long-time unemployed) groups of people are mostly not like my sister. I still believe that making it happen for different kinds of people, not just the surviving types, would make the world a more gentle place also for people like my sister. And as a result, for everybody. So for me making the entrepreneur want to employ and cherish the well-being of the employee makes a great starting point for better labour marker. And a human one. Now only if I worked in the employment office… 😉