Practice Statement: Valued Social Roles

A valued social role is when a person does something regularly that is important to other people.

Context:

  • A valued social role must be perceived by others as being important. Something that is valuable to the person but is not valued by other people is not a valued SOCIAL role. A role like this may still provide the person with enjoyment and satisfaction so continue doing it, just count it under a more appropriate measure rather than a valued social role.
  • Valued social roles are about contribution to other people, this contribution can be small or large so long as other people value it
  • Valued social roles can occur anywhere, both in the community and in the home
  • A person should aim to have several valued social roles not just one or two. The more valued social roles a person has the more chances they have to make friends, be involved with different communities and be provided with opportunities to access the good things in life.
  • A valued social role can have value because it requires special skills
  • A valued social role can have value because it makes other people feel good
  • A valued social role can have value because the output is valued
  • A valued social role can have value because it connects with other people who are valued
  • A valued social role is ongoing
  • A valued social role can be tested by other people noticing that they are missing
  • A valued social role can bring a sense of satisfaction to the person
  • A valued social role can provide an opportunity for personal growth for the person
  • A valued social role can be meaningful for the person

Practice Definition: Valued Social Roles

What would be observed in practice:

  • People fill a variety of social roles and are treated as valued members of their communities
  • People have opportunities to experience and perform different roles in their communities, based on their areas of interest
  • People are able to decide which social roles they’d like to perform by experiencing a broad array of options within their local communities
  • Supports are provided to assist people to learn the skills and behaviours necessary for filling a variety of social roles

Role-based Resources

Residential Staff

Discussion Questions

  1. When we meet new people, normally we first ask their name and then quickly afterwards, what they do. Why do you think we ask people what they do so quickly.
  2. Think about the social roles that the people you support already hold. They may already be valued roles or they may not be. Semantics are important, so think about how these existing roles can become more valued:
    EG:
    – From “dependent son” to “helpful son”
    – From “supported employee at a sheltered workshop” to “employee (almost anywhere else)”
    – From “volunteer gardener” to “paid gardener”
    What actions can you do to support people to make their social roles more valued by the people around them?

  3. Social role valorization theory tells us that it is not enough to just look for valued roles for people, we also need to consider how they are perceived by others. We can improve the perception other people hold by working with the people we support to:
    i. Enhance their image
    ii. Enhance their competency
    What would it mean to enhance the image and competencies for one of the people you support?
    .

Activities

  1. Read the quote below (which was taken from the blog link at the bottom) and consider your own experiences of how peoples’ expectations and behaviour towards you change depending on what you are wearing, who you are with etc. (Hint: this might help with question 3.)
    “A lot of people have noted that they are treated differently by shop owners when they are wearing their business attire and when they are in tracksuit pants and a T-shirt. Shopkeepers may see the person in business clothes as being in the social role of ‘wealthy’ and therefore worthy of a little attention in order to convince them to spend money. The same person in tracksuit pants may be viewed in a different social role – that of unemployed person perhaps, as that is the role their attire denotes.”
  2. Video: Joshua Bell, one of the best concert violinists in the world, played for free, for 45 minutes, on a violin worth 3.5 million dollars at a subway station in Washington DC. Over a thousand people passed by Bell, only seven stopped to listen him play, including a 3-year old boy, and only one person recognized him.
    This video is a great example of how context influences our perceptions.

  3. Socially valued roles a reflection
    How Context Shapes Perspective

Community Services

Discussion Questions

  1. When we meet new people, normally we first ask their name and then quickly afterwards, what they do. Why do you think we ask people what they do so quickly?
  2. Think about the social roles that the people you support already hold. They may already be valued roles or they may not be. Semantics are important, so think about how these existing roles can become more valued:
    EG:
    – From “dependent son” to “helpful son”
    – From “supported employee at a sheltered workshop” to “employee (almost anywhere else)”
    – From “volunteer gardener” to “paid gardener”
    What actions can you do to support people to make their social roles more valued by the people around them?

  3. Social role valorization theory tells us that it is not enough to just look for valued roles for people, we also need to consider how they are perceived by others. We can improve the perception other people hold by working with the people we support to:
    i. Enhance their image
    ii. Enhance their competency
    What would it mean to enhance the image and competencies for one of the people you support?

Activities

  1. Read the quote below (which was taken from the blog link at the bottom) and consider your own experiences of how peoples’ expectations and behaviour towards you change depending on what you are wearing, who you are with etc. (Hint: this might help with question 3.)
    “A lot of people have noted that they are treated differently by shop owners when they are wearing their business attire and when they are in tracksuit pants and a T-shirt. Shopkeepers may see the person in business clothes as being in the social role of ‘wealthy’ and therefore worthy of a little attention in order to convince them to spend money. The same person in tracksuit pants may be viewed in a different social role – that of unemployed person perhaps, as that is the role their attire denotes.”
  2. Socially valued roles a reflection

Hub and Support Staff

Discussion Questions

  1. More to come…

Activities

  1. More to come…

Managers and Coordinators

Discussion Questions

  1. Watch the video about Joshua Bell and consider the role of context in perception. Most members of the public thought that Bell was a busker because the context (location, his clothing, common stereotypes) indicated this. Therefore, they ignored him.

    The context around disabled people in Western society tends to support the negative stereotypes about them. Very few people with disabilities work, they have to access support (or “care”, the more enduring understanding of the disability services) and tend not to have a lot of disposable money (which is reflected in how they dress for example). Due to this, it can be argued that we should not just hope that by simply exposing the community to disabled people that they will act inclusively. There is more work to be done to challenge the perceptions of the community and it needs to be done on a case by case basis.
    Do you agree or disagree with this reasoning? What does this mean for support work? What can we do to overcome this “natural” reaction that the community is likely to show?

  2. “All relationships occur in the context of a role” – John Armstrong
    Lack of meaningful relationships is a common experience for disabled people. SRV theory promotes the attainment of socially valued roles as a means of developing relationships. How exactly do you think this process works? Are there ways that support workers can speed up the process or strengthen the odds of relationships developing via valued roles?

Activities

  1. Joshua Bell, one of the best concert violinists in the world, played for free, for 45 minutes, on a violin worth 3.5 million dollars at a subway station in Washington DC. Over a thousand people passed by Bell, only seven stopped to listen him play, including a 3-year old boy, and only one person recognized him.
    This video is a great example of how context influences our perceptions.
    How Context Shapes Perspective
  2. Article: Read the “Implications” section from pg 27 to 29.
    The Desire for Friendship