Featured in Spokeout Winter 2011
Written by Peter Moore
Thu, 23 Aug 2012
Be a Leader - Lead Your Own Life

Be a Leader - Lead Your Own Life

Since 1995, IWA has been operating a ‘Leader’ service, which enables people with disabilities to manage their own Personal Assistant services. CHRIS HOEY, Regional Director, explains why IWA is currently recruiting more Leaders, and PETER MOORE, who has been a Leader for over 15 years, writes about the impact of the service on his life.

IWA’s self-directed Assisted Living Service (ALS) enables people with disabilities to become ‘Leaders’, actively managing their own service and the Personal Assistants (PAs) who work with them. A Leader is defined as “a person with a physical disability who manages their own PA service on a daily basis.”

Leaders recruit and retain their own PAs, directing a service that is appropriate for their needs. The Leader service is underpinned by the philosophy of Independent Living including equal rights, equal opportunities, the right of people with disabilities to make decisions on matters that impact on their lives, and the right to complete integration and inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of society.

The Leader PA service has been operating in IWA since 1995, and Leaders are supported in the management of their service by a small number of staff in IWA’s ALS office and by internal specialist expertise from IWA’s Human Resources, Training and Finance Departments.

The Leader self-directed service differs from IWA’s supported Assisted Living Service (ALS) because it maximises the level of control and autonomy a person with a disability can exercise over their PA service. In becoming a Leader and managing their own PA service, the person becomes responsible for the recruitment of their PAs, the day-to-day management of their PAs, the scheduling of rosters for PAs to work in their service, the submission of timesheets to facilitate the payment of PAs for hours worked and the on-the-job training of PAs in tasks required by their service.

There are currently 51 Leaders in the self-directed services and in the coming months IWA will be undertaking an initiative, through the Leader Consultative Group, to promote the option of becoming a Leader to individuals within the Assisted Living Service. If you are interested in becoming a Leader, please contact Julie Toomey at julie.toomey@iwa.ie to register your interest or to obtain further information on the Leader service.