Valued Roles: valued lives in the community

We believe that in order for people with disabilities to live a good life, they need to take on roles in the community that are viewed positively and valued. Valued roles are the everyday roles of ordinary life and are based on our individual interests, skills and gifts.

Valued roles are often related to:

  • home and family e.g. brother or aunty
  • leisure activities e.g. netball fan or train enthusiast
  • work e.g. librarian or sales person
  • civic duties e.g. tax payer or voter.

When we hold roles in the community that are valued and that allow us to contribute based on our strengths and interests, we are more likely to feel accepted, and experience a sense of belonging. Taking on valued roles helps to challenge outdated and negative stereotypes around people with disabilities.

Valued roles help give purpose and meaning to our lives, and they influence how we view ourselves and how others view us. Our roles shift and change as we move through the different spaces of ordinary life, like home, work, and school, and they influence who we interact with, our routines and activities, and our participation in the community. The degree to which people with disabilities are viewed as having something worthwhile to contribute to the community strongly relates with the degree to which they will be valued and included.

There are many simple things that can be done to help people achieve a variety of valued roles in their life. A good place to start is thinking about the valued roles within family and work on developing these. Valued roles within family can act as a strong foundation for taking up other valued roles in the wider community.

quotequoteThese [roles], I refer to as the big “little” roles – the everyday roles of family member, friend, and neighbour – not stunning in their originality, rarity or glamour but instead, are the life-sustaining everyday glue of communities and circles worldwide (Janet Klees, 2009).

Resourcing Families, an initiative of Family Advocacy; NSW, Australia.

Additional Resources

Sole Role Valorisation