Viggo's difficult world – or: Who Decides the Future?

Frank Bylov
University College West, DK

Background

In Denmark, people with learning disability in 1991-93 established their own national self-organisation, 'ULF' ('Udviklingshæmmedes Lands Forbund': National Organisation of People with Learning Disability). Having been actively involved in earlier movements, I was asked to be a supporter in this process, and ever since, we have kept contact, and now and then I solve different tasks for the ULF: Producing political analyses of possibility-structures and new possible policies of the movement, giving lectures at courses for members and leadership, and acting as an external consultant in various projects of the ULF.

In 2007 ULF got a grant from the Danish governmental dept. of Welfare to develop 'a tool for dialogue on human rights, aimed at young people with (learning) disability'. And I, once more, became the external consultant. The official name of this project is "Who decides the future?"

'Viggo's difficult World'

The 'dialogue-tool' is now in production, and I hope I shall be able to show some of the early versions that should be ready for testing early this summer.

The tool is made as a webside-format, to enable interactive use. Entering the website, you can select a theme e.g.'Who decides in school?', 'Who decides your future?', 'Who decides your leisure time?' etc. (We shall for the early versions produce three or four themes, and have them tested at three schools for young people with disabilities.).

Having chosen a theme, you enter the 'main-window' The difficult world of Viggo and his friends and two side-windows, that you can open as you wish: a factual-box and a political box.

In the main-window you will see and hear a sound + comic strip with an episode from the difficult world. There are three main characters, all aged 14-17:

– Viggo (a young man) is a great admirer of Mohammed Ali, the famous boxer, but personally he is rather worried: so many things may turn wrong, and perhaps is it better not to try your luck too hard? He is sort of a daydreamer, but also a very warm and friendly nature. Everything seems to grow from his touch. (Except for him self unfortunately?)

– Ulla (his best friend perhaps even his girlfriend?) is a wheelchair-driver. Most of all she would have a moped-engine on her chair, fearless as she is. She strongly encourages Viggo to go on at full drive but truly, if she had her will every time, they would probably smash into the nearest concrete wall.

– Micko is their friend. He lives in hip-hop, skateboards, and cyberspace. His ideas may seem weird, and you never know what kind of reality they correspond to. But he is dedicated and self relying person (and so you can trust him), and in some cyberworld he is one great hero, and is able to correspond with other famous heroes (like Nelson Mandela, Jürgen Habermas etc.).

Now in every episode they are challenged by something one of them have experienced, or heard some one else experience: but is that right? Couldn't we do something? We must have some kind of rights, even people like us? Can they really do that to us?

And since they do not always find solutions and even if so, they still doubt them you are invited to take part. How would you find a way through such?

And this is where you may need and get – more information:

– If you open the 'fact-box' the voice of a social worker will inform you on any legislation regulating issues of the theme, and also give you information on where to get personal advise or assistance, and where eventually you may complaint or appeal for your rights. You may call this 'formal or objective information'.

– And if you open the 'political box' some experienced person from ULF will tell you how they have organised means of negotiation/action/solution in similar cases, and also inform you who and where the ULF's nearest support can be found. This is rather 'informal or subjective statements'.

If plans are fulfilled, I shall be able to show the first productions in July and hopefully with a British translation.


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