PSYCHOSOCIAL SUPPORT PROGRAMMES FOR PROTECTIVE WORKSHOPS OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES.
Molamu, Manthipi J.
ABSTRACT The study explores the psychosocial support programmes offered in protective workshops (community day-care organizations that provide rehabilitation services and “work” opportunities for persons with developmental disabilities). These programmes are intended to improve the personal and social skills of persons with developmental disabilities, and provide them with support to undertake the different roles in their social and community lives. The aim of the study is to investigate whether the staff members that were trained on the psychosocial support programmes provided by the Department of Social Development are able to implement what they have learnt and support persons with developmental disabilities in protective workshops. The majority of studies conducted on protective workshops focus more on the responsiveness of the programmes to service users. This study assumes a different approach in that it explores the support given to the staff members tasked with the implementation of programmes to service users. The study is informed by Erikson’s (1994) psychosocial theory, and Bandura’s (1977) social theory, which provide for understanding and explaining how personality behaviour develops in people, and how people can learn new information and behaviours by watching other people (George, 1997). It is also anchored in the statements of the Clinical Practice Guidelines for Psychosocial Interventions in Severe Mental Illness (2009) on the need for more intense study on the support of professionals, caregivers and staff members tasked with the implementation of psychosocial support programmes. The study brings out the large absent reactions of those exposed to the task of implementing the programme, Two focus group sessions (a pilot study and a focus group study), involving trained workshop staff members highly involved in protective workshops, was conducted. The focus groups explored concrete experiences of implementing the programme, v the support received from supervisors and managers of workshops and the staff’s perception and thoughts on the implementation of the programme. The sessions were manually recorded using two scribes and a flip chart, and the results were coded and analysed. A number of themes emerged from the findings, including perceived limited support to staff, dependence on team work to understand the work in workshops, therapeutic programmes not being implemented due to lack of understanding amongst staff, lack of involvement of professionals in workshops and the lack of continuous and supported capacity building programmes. Focus group participants felt there was a need to have continuous or incremental training programmes, supervision, promotion/advocacy work to popularise and advertise the work workshops are doing to attract professionals, and most importantly, to get adequate support to respond to the workshop demands. The main findings of the study suggest that the intervention implemented in the workshops for persons with disabilities is ineffectual and requires some improvement. The study opens the door for more in-depth studies involving the role that protective workshops play in integrating persons with developmental disabilities in economic initiatives, and in generally improving the quality of their lives.
Medical rehabilitation,People with disabilities.