Skip to content

Untapped Posts

We must be aware of the subtle forms of prejudice and discrimination people with disability experience

 

It is a harsh reality that people with disability experience discrimination and prejudice on a daily basis.

People with disability experience subtle forms of prejudice every day. Although they are subtle, this can cause a great deal of damage to these people.

It was when I was thinking about subtle, unintentional comments towards people with disability, when I came across the term ‘microaggression’

Dr Jessica Kirkpatrick explains that microaggressions are everyday insults which send negative messages to people because they belong to a marginalised group.  People who commit microaggressions, often don’t intend to cause harm. However microaggressions can inflict great harm.

Blogger Wendy Lu, woman with a disability writes microaggressions are often subtle, negative comments about people with disability

An example of this is when people tell a person with a disability is inspiring for doing every day tasks.

 

I was compelled to write about microaggressions experienced by people with disability, due to a recent incident in the media. Radio presenter Jon Faine, made offensive comments to disability advocate, Carly Findlay regarding disability.

Reporter Brodie Carmardy writes that when disability advocate Carly Findlay was being interviewed by Jon Faine, he claimed that she looked like a burns victim and it can’t be good for her on Halloween.

Furthermore Jon degraded Carly by asking her an extremely personal question such has she had sex. Carly states she wondered whether he asks his guest without a disability similar questions.

Dr Jessica Kirkpatrick writes that a macroaggression can occur when people feel entitled to ask people with a disability highly intimate questions.  She writes that when someone asks a person with disability invasive questions, it highlights the fact that they are viewed as different.

Reflecting on Carly’s interview, EPIC Assist CEO Bill Gamic wrote that Carly has found it offensive when being approached by strangers saying that they would pray for her. Bill writes it is not kind for a person to tell a person with a disability that they will pray for them. It implies that there is something about a person with disability that requires “fixing”. This is a form of macroaggression.

I’ve been approached by strangers who want to do a healing prayer over me.

Although they may have good intentions, it made me feel devalued as a human being.

A form of macroaggression is when people with disability are viewed as inspirational for completing ordinary tasks.

Blogger Cara Leibowitz, writes that by people praising someone with disability for doing an ordinary task, they are sending a message to people with disability that they don’t deserve to live a life like everyone else.

I’ve experience people for praising me for doing something viewed as ordinary. When I went to a job interview, the interviewer praised me for my university qualifications. She said I was an inspiration. I am sure she didn’t say that to the other candidates. This reminded me that people have low expectations of people with disability.

Another form of macroaggression is staring at people due to their disability.

A blogger with a disability who goes by the name Affliction Fiction, wrote that sometimes they felt as if they were an exhibit for a freak show. Affliction Fiction wished they could of charged people for staring.

When I go out into the community, I am stared at by many people due to my disability. Most of the time I look away. However it really distresses me. It magnifies my differences.

Professor Lauren Van Sluytman writes people who experience microagression can have ongoing psychological distress.

 

Dr Jessica advises people who want to ensure they are not making an offensive comment to a person with a disability, must ask themselves whether they would say this to a person without a disability. She writes that if the answer is no, then what they are about to say is probably a microaggression

I believe that if people realise that they have been unintentionally discriminating against people with disability, they will stop behaving this way.

If we want a truly inclusive society, people with disability must be treated as any other citizen.

I realize that this may be a learning process for many. However we, people with disability, can assist you in this journey.

To have an inclusive society people with disability must be given the same respect as any other person.

Now that’s a society I want to live in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Webpages viewed

 

 

 

Dr  Jessica Kirkpatrick https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/preventing-microaggressions-jessica-kirkpatrick/

 

Brode Carmody https://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/abc-s-jon-faine-criticised-over-deeply-uncomfortale-interview-20180329-p4z6u3.html

Wendy Lu https://www.bustle.com/articles/186060-13-microaggressions-people-with-disabilities-face-on-a-daily-basis

Bill Gamack  https://probonoaustralia.com.au/news/2018/04/listen-learn-importance-parking-prejudice/

Cara Leibowitz https://thebodyisnotanapology.com/magazine/everyday-ableism-and-how-we-can-avoid-it/

 

Affliction Fiction http://www.theafflictionfiction.com/2016/02/ableism-101-general-individual-ableism.html

 

Laurens Van Sluytman https://theconversation.com/many-small-microaggressions-add-up-to-something-big-50694

 

 

`

https://raisingselfawareness.com/microaggressions-steer-clear-of/

 

Leave a Comment

Can the NDIS transform the housing situation for people with disability?

 

Home is where people find solace. It’s their safe place. It’s a place to recharge their batteries and be with their loved ones. Most people can choose where they wish to live and whom they wish to live with. However many people with disability are denied the opportunity to make choices regarding their living situation due to inaccessible housing and lack of support.

When I was a young adult with a disability I dreamt of living independently.

This dream became a reality. I’m very much aware that if I had high support needs, I may have had to live in a group home or nursing home. The prospect of those living options scare me.

Dr George Taleporos, policy manager at the Summer Foundation, writes that, as a person with disability, he knows that most housing is inaccessible and unaffordable for people with disability with high support needs.  As a result people with disability are forced to reside in nursing homes or group homes.

The NDIS is trying to find solutions to the bleak housing situation many people with disability find themselves in.

The NDIS has introduced funding referred to as Specialist Disability Accommodation [SDA]. This will enable eligible participants to move into accessible and affordable housing. Eligible participants will be able to choose where they live and who they live with. SDA funding is only for the physical dwelling and doesn’t cover support costs.

 

One of the really positive aspects of SDA is that people with disability will have the freedom to live where they desire

Jono Bredin co-wrote an article with researchers, Libby Callaway and Kate Tregloan. Jono has a disability and receives SDA funding. Jono wrote that having SDA has enabled him to move to a unit of his own. He asserts the move has increased his confidence and motivation. Due to moving he participates more in the community.

One positive impact that the NDIS has had on the living situation for people with disability is that housing and support services are now funded separately.

Dr George Taleporos points out that, by funding housing and support separately, people with disability will be able to change who provides support without moving house.

Blogger Eli Gibbs, a woman with a disability, shows that the separation of funding is imperative. She writes that the only way many people with disability can receive support services, such as personal care, is often dependent on where people reside, such as living in a group home or nursing home. She asks us to imagine being forced to live with people you don’t like in order to have a daily shower.  By funding housing and support separately, people with disability will have control over their living situation.

However, one of the limitations of SDA is it only funds participants with the highest functional impairments.

 

Due to this restriction many people with disability won’t receive SDA. Justin Nix from Equitable Access Solutions claims that due to many people with disability not being eligible for SDA, they may be excluded from accessible housing completely. Most housing projects for people with disability are geared towards attracting SDA participants. This leaves many people with disability with limited housing options, because they’re ineligible for SDA.

 

One of the limitations of SDA is the language they use to describe housing for people with disability. The Victorian Council of Social Services believes that the NDIS must stop using terms such as Specialist Disability Accommodation. It is clear that the general population still believe that housing for people with disability is different and separate from other citizens.

The NDIS is enabling many people with disability to finally have choice and control over their living situation.

Through NDIS funding many people with disability will be able to live with dignity and to be included in the community.

This is a basic human right that should be applied to everyone.

However, many people with disability will be ineligible for SDA. These people with disability need urgent assistance to access housing.

Nevertheless, I feel that the NDIS is transforming the housing situation for people with disability.

One day people with disability will be able to search for a home without being encumbered by issues of accessibility.

We may be on the way to turning this dream into a reality.

 

Websites visited

 

Dr George Taleporos  cited in https://probonoaustralia.com.au/news/2017/04/evolution-housing-people-disabilities/

NDIS https://www.ndis.gov.au/document/specialist-disability-accommodation-fact

Jono Bredin,Libby Callaway and Kate Tregloan https://ccnb.com.au/ndis-change-housing-rules

 

Dr George Taleporos cited in https://www.summerfoundation.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/separating-housing-and-support-toolkit.pdf

Eli Gibbs

Justin Nix Justin Nix http://communitylifestyleaccommodation.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Insufficient-Housing-Options-for-People-with-ID-A-Brief-Discussion-Paper.pdf

Victorian Council of Social Services  http://www.amida.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/SUB_160304_HousingforPeoplewithDisability.FINAL_.pdf

 

Leave a Comment

A society where people with disability are included: Now that’s worth striving for!

 

Have you noticed that our blog posts mentions inclusion for people with disability many times?

Do you wonder why we speak about disability inclusion so often?

We believe that people with disability must be included in all sectors of society. As a person with a disability I know how vital it is to feel a sense of belonging in one’s community.  I’ve also felt excluded and marginalised due to my disability.

Many people with disability have also felt this way.

 

So what is inclusion for people with disability?

Many people are confused about what disability inclusion means.

Scope, an organisation for people with disability in Victoria, claims social inclusion for people with disability is more than their physical presence in the community.

Melbourne City Mission writes that inclusion for people with disability involves that of an individual feeling that they are valued and respected as members of society.

Educator Dr Joseph Petner, Educator believes inclusion is about everyone being recognised as an intrinsic part of the community.

Columnist Paolo Gaudian writes, diversity and inclusion expert Vernā Myers coined the phrase “diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being welcomed”.

So disability inclusion is not just when people with disability are physically present within a community. It is when they are regarded as valued citizens.

From the above explanations of disability inclusion, one can assume that it must be a human right.

Therefore surely people with disability are included in society.

Wrong.

It’s true that we are able to access public venues [mostly], join in public events etc.

However, unfortunately, sometimes we don’t feel welcome, and it seems our differences are enhanced.

Often when I’m out in the community, people stare at me due to my physical disability. This makes me feel as though I don’t belong. I feel as if it accentuates my difference.

 

The Australian Network on Disability wrote that research conducted by Scope and researchers from Deakin University found that people with disability felt excluded from society. The researchers found that community attitudes were preventing people with disability from being included into society.

 

Journalist Nadja Fleet cites studies that show many people with disabilities still feel excluded and ignored. Dignity for Disability MLC, Kelly Vincent who has cerebral palsy states that society is yet to be inclusive. She believes people’s attitudes towards those with disability must change in order to achieve an inclusive society.

As a person with disability, I’ve also felt excluded and marginalised.

Recently I was in a café and I asked the waitress if she could please tell me where the bathroom was. She responded in an extremely patronising manner and even asked me whether I required help. While I have no doubt that she meant well, and that she didn’t know I was intelligent, it made me feel as though my differences were magnified. I felt I was an outsider. This was not inclusion.

I wrote an email to the management politely informing them about what had happened. The staff member apologised for offending me and we had a nice chat. She was conducive to feedback. This shows that many people want to be inclusive of people with disability, but they just don’t know how.

So how can we make society inclusive for people with disability?

Rebecca Saloustros, who works for a disability organisation that promotes disability inclusion suggested ways to create a society that is more inclusive for people with disability. She believes that there should be more inclusive classrooms.

Rebecca writes that communities must be designed with disability access in mind. Rebecca rightfully claims that designers should create separate entrances for people with disability. Instead they should ensure all entrances are accessible for everyone.
Rebecca writes that disability representation must increase in areas such as leadership, media, politics and business.

 

Rebecca’s final suggestion for having a more disability inclusive society is to actively engage with your community members with disabilities.

 

Disability inclusion is not just an issue for people with disability, it’s an issue for everyone.

 

Without disability inclusion, society is depriving itself from being exposed to talented and gifted people.

 

I believe society should include all individuals regardless of their backgrounds I.e race, age, disability. We will become richer for it.

 

Leave a Comment

NDIS Participants Expected to Navigate the Murky Waters of Service Delivery Alone

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a restful break and feel motivated to start another year.

I cannot say I had an entirely restful break. The week before Christmas, I had my NDIS plan review meeting.

When I first became an NDIS participant, I was informed that the same planner would conduct my reviews each time for consistency. As I arrived for the meeting, I was startled to hear that a local area coordinator [LAC] who I hadn’t met before, would be conducting the meeting, and was to make recommendations to the NDIS regarding the amount of funding I would receive. I found this incredibly daunting.

This wasn’t the only shock that I had.

My distress increased greatly when I discovered I may not be allocated Support Coordination.

I value Support Coordination as it has enabled me to make the most from my plan.

So, what is support coordination?

Support Coordination is an NDIS funded support.

The NDIA defines it as –

‘Assistance to strengthen participant’s abilities to coordinate and implement supports and participate more fully in the community’.

In a nutshell, a Support Coordinator helps participants and their families coordinate their paid supports.

Libby Ellis from InCharge wrote that a Support Coordinator’s role is to help participants find the right supports and service providers to achieve their goals.

http://incharge.net.au/what-on-earth-is-support-coordination-plan-management-and-lac/

This assistance has been vital for me. I have a speech impairment, and therefore I often require my Coordinator to act as a mediator between myself and service providers.

Evie Nauful, an independent NDIS expert, writes that participants are having their Support Coordination hours significantly reduced, or having their hours completely removed. Unfortunately, some providers try domination tactics, so it is imperative to have someone who can mediate for participants.

NDIS considers Support Coordination as a Capacity Building Support.

Capacity Building involves imparting participants with the skills to coordinate their own support. This is why use of a Support Coordinator is viewed as a time limited support.

The NDIA claims Capacity Building is to move people with disability, from being dependent service users to active citizens who exercise choice and control. As a person with a disability this sounds empowering.

However, I feel as though without a huge investment in Capacity Building, expecting participants and their families to coordinate their own supports is akin to thrusting them into the wilderness.

Capacity building takes time.

It cannot be a short term support.

In a report prepared by Libby Ellis, Kate Fulton and Luke B’osher, they explain that Support Coordination should be viewed as a long term support. Assistance is required to move through the hurdles involved in implementing NDIS plans, and the report shows that participants and families can be confused in how to best utilise their funds. Due to the time spent on resolving such issues, Support Coordinators are then delayed in implementing effective capacity building with participants.

The NDIA intends for LACs to implement support coordination.

When I was told that a new LAC would assist me with Support Coordination, I was very apprehensive.

The NDIS explain that LAC roles consist of linking people to the NDIS, connecting participants to information and support, and work within local communities. There is minimal mention of Support Coordination.

An independent NDIS consultant, Sally Coddington writes that she is very doubtful of the LACs capacity to do this. Unfortunately, the KPIs for LACs prioritise quantity, not quality of input. This is due to the fact LACs are pressured to work at a fast pace, and therefore they simply don’t have time to offer quality Support Coordination. Sally writes providing Support Coordination is a complex task, and Coordinators must have sufficient time to undertake this.

LACS shouldn’t be given the added responsibility of Support Coordination.

I believe Support Coordination is imperative to the roll out of the NDIS.

Without Support Coordination, many participants are expected to organise their own funded supports for the first time in their lives. We need someone to impart to us the skills required to navigate the complex service delivery environment. I am certain that if the NDIS invested in Capacity Building and Support Coordination more, we would be more than capable to control our own supports.

 

3 Comments

Wishing You a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

 

 

Christmas is upon us!

The scent of mince pies is in the air. Houses are decorated in lights. People are wiping off the cob webs from their tree to decorate them. It’s a time where we gain unwanted kilos and relax with loved ones. During this time, I look back on the year that is just about to pass.

One of the positives for me this year was the creation of The Untapped Platform.  As a person with a disability it has been a privilege to write about topics I feel extremely passionate about, such as disability inclusion.

As this will be my final blog piece for the year, we at Untapped, wish to sincerely thank our readers.

Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy day to read Untapped!

Over the past few months I have written about some of the triumphs and tribulations for the disability community.

I wrote about Jordon Mr Steele-John, a man with a disability, who was campaigning for a seat in the senate for Western Australia. After writing my blog,  Mr Steele-John won.   This was such a significant moment for me and the wider disability community because there is a person with disability in parliament representing our views.

I wrote about the new NDIS pathway. The NDIS intended to improve the experience the participants have with the NDIS. I found this to be positive. The new changes were the result of feedback the agency took from the participants.

I wrote about the positive connection Untapped made with Disability Matters. Disability Matters is a platform for people with disability to be heard.  People with disability can express their views on disability related issues by using this platform.  Disability Matters share the same goal as Untapped: giving people with disability a voice.

I wrote about the announcement that the disability advocacy organisations in New South Wales will have their funding removed by June 2018.This will result in disability advocacy organisations closing, which will leave many people with disability without a voice.

I wrote about employment and how the labour participation for people with disability is low. One of the main reasons is disability discrimination. We hope the Untapped Platform will improve the employment situation for people with disability by educating the wider business community.

I discussed the decline of students that have disability in mainstream schools. I am extremely passionate about this because I attended a mainstream school. I personally experienced how attending a mainstream school can change the students’ live. Students with a disability must not be excluded from mainstream schools.

So that’s some of what Untapped has done so far this year.

 

Have yourself an accessible little Christmas

Well, I’m ready for Christmas. My lightweight, appropriately-sized presents are wrapped. My wheelchair accessible travel to see my family is booked. My chair has had her Christmas cut and polish. I do really like Christmas. Apart from a few traditions that make this time of year a bit, well, inaccessible for me.

 

But before we further reflect on the year we have to get through Christmas!

I have a love hate relationship with Christmas. I enjoy spending time with loved ones. I savor every morsel of pork. I love seeing the delight on people’s faces when they receive gifts.

However I become frustrated when I go Christmas shopping.  Swarms of people go to the shops. I don’t like the endless ques. Sometimes I curse myself for not taking a book while waiting in line.

Having a disability at Christmas can have its’s challenges such as shopping for loved ones.  I sometimes need assistance with shopping. I can’t bring my loved ones to shop for their presents, unless I blindfold them because I want them to be a surprised. So therefore I have the help from a support worker. I find people, including myself, are less patient leading up to Christmas. Due to my disability, I am physically slower which holds other people up.

The late disability advocate Stella Young wrote that there were a few challenges for people with disability during the holiday season. These include having to have the prize ornament on top of the tree and an increase of people in shopping centers. She writes in spite of these challenges, Christmas for her was a lot of fun.

I really enjoy Christmas day. We do have a lot of fun. When I pull a Christmas cracker with my brothers, I place my hand halfway on it. They call it cheating.  It’s in good humour. However they don’t pull many crackers with me considering what I do!

So I hope you have a fun and relaxing time. Hope you have a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

1 Comment

Disability rights are threatened due to removal of advocacy services. NDIS is not a substitute for advocacy.

 

On Friday night I plan to go out with my partner, something I take for granted. However as a woman with a physical disability, if I was alive 60 years ago, I possibly wouldn’t be allowed outside. I may have been in an institution, excluded from society.

Nowadays, as a person with a disability, I’m able to be included in most situations within society. This is due to the hard work of disability advocates.

The rights of people with disability have come a long way. However we have further to go to achieve full equality. This is why my heart sank when I heard NSW disability advocacy services will cease to exist in June 2018.

In an article written by James Robertson, he shows that funding provided to advocacy groups will be removed from the state government to commonwealth government i.e. the NDIS.

Disability advocates state that the NDIS has no permanent provision of funding for advocacy. As a result organisations providing disability advocacy will close leaving many people with disability without a voice. As a woman with a disability this is devastating, I would not be where I am if it wasn’t for people advocating on my behalf.

My mother advocated for me to have note takers at university. When I enrolled the uni assured us they could provide this. By my second year, they withdrew this service. My mum assisted me to lodge a complaint. As a result I was provided with a note taker.

So what is disability advocacy?

NSW Disability Advocacy claim that advocacy is standing up for the rights of someone who is being treated unfairly. Some of the ways advocates can help is they can provide free information or advice, they can support a person to take formal action.

Disability advocate Leigh Cryton states that advocacy is vital because many people may not even be aware that their rights are being violated because they don’t know their rights or may be too scared to speak up.

NSW Disability Advocacy Alliance show that some of the outcomes from advocacy include helping people with a disability to avoid unfair incarceration in the justice system. The NSW Council of Intellectual Disability claim that due to advocacy, advances have been made in the physical and mental health for people with intellectual disability.

The existence of the NDIS was due to disability advocacy. It is vital that we remember this.

 

Read the article here

Plea for Premier to reverse disability funding cuts as pressure mounts

The state government is coming under increasing pressure to drop plans to cut $13 million in annual funding for the many NSW organisations that advocate on behalf of people with a disability, as Queensland follows suit and the state opposition commits to maintaining the funding.

So the value of disability advocacy is clear.

Graeme Innes, a human rights activist and a man with a disability, wrote that by reducing funding from disability advocacy organisations people with disabilities voices are being silenced.

Reporter James Robertson wrote Jim Simpson from the Council for Intellectual Disability, claimed that people with an intellectual disability are being silenced due to the forced closure of advocacy services.

The question is can the NDIS adequately provide advocacy?

Many people with disability and disability organisations state affirmatively that the NDIS won’t, this leaves many people with disability in the lurch.

The Disability Council believes the role of advocacy is vital in ensuring people with disability can efficiently navigate the complex system of the NDIS.

The Physical Disability Council of NSW states the majority of assistance advocacy organisations provide people with disability support, which falls outside the responsibility of the NDIS.

In 2015 Ya’el Frisch a social policy officer and a woman with a disability, wrote that disability ministers agreed that some support related to individual advocacy would be provided by the NDIS to participant in their individual’s budget. She wonders if she and other participants will be asked to choose between assistance with personal care or funds for advocacy.  This is a pretty stark choice.

Diana Palmer, the CEO of Ideas believes there are also people with disability who aren’t eligible for NDIS and it is essential for these people have access to advocacy.

I believe we need an independent body to advocate for participants if we have a complaint regarding the NDIS. Disability advocacy for me is about empowerment. Without it, we, people with disability are rendered vulnerable and powerless. We are at risk of our voices being silenced.

The government must empower us to assert our right to be included in society. However we are being silenced.

Please let us have our say!

2 Comments

The time to include students with disability in mainstream school is now.

Picture this..

A young girl with a physical disability aged six, looking at the other children without a disability playing happily in the school yard. This girl was staring at the children through heavy gates. She was in a unit for students with a disability located on the grounds of a mainstream school. She was only permitted to mingle with the other students at lunch.

I was this young girl. It was extremely painful. I felt as though I was in a cage.

My disability was amplified.

Fortunately, through the tenacity of my mother and other professionals, I was fully integrated at a local catholic school. This was the opening to a whole new world.  I had significantly more opportunities than I would have had at a segregated school, such as attending university.

As integration into a mainstream school played an important role in my life, I was alarmed when I read an article by journalist Luke Michael Showing that mainstream schools are currently discouraging the inclusion of students with a disability.

Michael wrote a national survey has revealed more than 70% of students with disability have been discouraged to enroll in mainstream schools. He wrote, Stephanie Gotlib, the CEO of Children and Young People with Disability Australia claimed the results show that the mainstream education system continues to resist the inclusion of students with disability.

 

Click here for article

Mainstream Schools Discourage Inclusion of Students with Disability | PBA

Mainstream Schools Discourage Inclusion of Students with Disability Monday, 6th November 2017 at 4:12 pm A national survey of students with disability has revealed more than 70 per cent of students have experienced instances where their enrolment and inclusive participation in mainstream schools has been discouraged.

Craig Wallace, disability activist has direct experience of being segregated at schools. A few years ago, there was a debate regarding whether students with disability should be included in mainstream schools. Craig attended a ‘special’ school for a little while. He wrote they were sad places with low expectations. He claimed that students fail to thrive in segregated settings.

An article written by Catia Malaquias writes that research indicates that students with disability who were included in mainstream schools had better social and academic outcomes than students in special schools. Research showed people with disability who were included in mainstream schools are more likely to be employed or living independently later in life, compared to people who attended a segregated school.

Dr Kathy Cologon conducted an extensive literature review and found that inclusive education helps students with disability build friendship and have higher levels of interactions than students in a segregated setting.

However, despite the positives of students with disability in mainstream schools, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows between 2003 and 2015, there was a shift toward students with disability attending special schools, and away from attending special classes in mainstream schools.

The Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO) show that the outcome of being educated in a segregated environment can place people with disability on a ‘treadmill’ to a segregated life.

While inclusive education has been shown in most cases to outweigh segregation settings, it involves a concerted effort by teaching staff. Dr Phil Foreman wrote that inclusive education relied heavily on the attitudes of principals, teachers and staff.

When I was integrated into mainstream school, some of the teachers showed negative attitudes toward my presence in the classroom. There was a day when a teacher instructed us to draws angles. I raised my hand and said I’m sorry but I’m unable to draw. The teacher snarled ‘what are you doing in this class then?’. This was in front of my peers, I was humiliated!

An article by Linda Graham and Kate de Bruin and Ilektra Spandagou showed that Dr James Morton, who is a parent of child with autism, criticised universities for failing to prepare teachers to teach students with disability. Teachers must be equipped to educate students with varying disability.

However, the responsibility cannot fall directly on the teachers. AFDO claims Governments must ensure that teachers and school communities have sufficient funding for disability support or other resources. Thus, teachers will be able to meet the diverse needs of all their students

My life changed dramatically when I was placed into a mainstream school. The sad young girl I described has become an educated woman with an abundant life. My hope is that every child with a disability is accepted and feels valued in the community.

If society is serious about the inclusion of people with disability, they must ensure schools embrace all students so they can reach their potential.

 

Leave a Comment

The new NDIS pathway is announced!

As a person with a disability I was excited when I first heard of the NDIS. The notion that we would finally have voice, choice and control over our support services was liberating. The NDIS promised we would have support to fulfil our goals and to participate as citizens. I felt as though a new day had dawned!

However, the implementation of NDIS ideals hasn’t exactly come to fruition.

Due to this, the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) has designed a new NDIS pathway.

New and improved NDIS pathway?

A central feature of the new pathway is that NDIS planning meetings will be conducted face to face as opposed to over the phone.

The new pathway plan will include:

  • A consistent point of contact
  • Having a Local Area Coordinator (LAC) or NDIA planner who will understand the unique needs of each participant
  • A stronger focus on the broader system of supports i.e. transport
  • Information that is clear, consistent and available in accessible formats
  • An improved NDIS portal and tools

The new pathway will be piloted and tested over the next few months prior to being implemented nationally. The new pathway was the result of research conducted by the NDIA and the Productivity Commission.

The NDIA conducted a study consisting of feedback from 188 participants and families. Other participants included frontline staff, service providers and state officials.  The results showed that participants, families and stakeholders felt that the NDIS was not meeting benchmarks.

The Productivity Commission produced a report, showing that many NDIS participants found the planning process complex and confusing. It showed that many participants and families were disgruntled with having their planning meetings over the phone.

The commission were also told that sometimes participants were not even aware that the phone call was a planning meeting, so were not prepared for meetings which affected the quality of outcome.

 

The NDIS pathway experience

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) has released details of a new National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) ‘pathway’ designed to significantly improve the experience people and organisations have with the ground-breaking NDIS.

Amaze, a peak body for people with autism, stated that participants have reported feeling rushed in their planning meeting. They also felt forced into a phone planning meeting. Amaze claims there is a lack of clear and accessible information for participants about the planning process.

The Commonwealth Ombudsmen received complaints from participants and families who were given no option for a face to face meetings, even where it was clear a phone interview was not appropriate i.e. a participant who required the use of communication boards to participate.

Journalist Stephen Easton wrote, the problem is the government is exerting pressure on NDIA to roll out the scheme by 2020 and this has comprised the outcomes for participants. Therefore, the planning meetings were rushed.

It was due to complaints similar to the ones above, that the NDIA developed the new NDIS pathway.

Editor Lisa Caneva interviewed People with Disability Australia senior policy officer on the NDIS, Dr Meg Clement-Couzner. She believes that the new NDIS pathways is positive. However, she is anxious to see the outcome.

This year I didn’t have a meeting for a review of my plan. My plan was automatically renewed without any consultation from me. When I questioned this, I was told that someone tried to contact me via phone without success. So, they just continued my plan i.e. I received the same amount of funding. Due to my disability, I have problems communicating via phone, so I prefer email. The NDIA were aware of this, yet still phoned me.

Personally I can related to the fact that many participants would prefer to meet face to face with the planner.

However, despite some of these issues the NDIS has had a profound positive impact on my life. For instance, I’m able to fulfil a lifelong ambition of being employed. This was possible due to the direct assistance of the NDIS.

I applaud the NDIA for designing a new NDIS pathway. I do feel encouraged that we, people with disability will have more control over how meetings are being conducted. The fundamental purpose of the NDIS is people with disability having choice and control over their lives. I believe this can become a reality for people with disability.

With tenacity from people with disability, NDIS staff and stake holders, we’ll get there!

2 Comments

Linking arms makes us stronger

I developed a passion for writing at an early age. Due to my cerebral palsy, my speech is slurred making it difficult for most to understand what I say. However when I write, I can communicate without hindrance. People can understand my messages. This is extremely liberating to express my thoughts.

I believe that when I write about disability issues I’m able to challenge people’s perceptions of people with disability. I strongly believe that a great majority of peoples prejudice towards people with disability stems from ignorance.

I believe that when I write I’m removing some people’s misconceptions. Hopefully my writing provides people an insight of the experiences of people with disability.

I find writing about my experiences of having a disability liberating. I believe that for far too long people without a disability have written about us.

We have been the objects for people to research and write about, however in recent years there has been a paradigm shift. People are finally realising that we are experts of our own lives. Our voices are finally being heard and valued.

A key goal for Untapped is to create change, and one of the ways we do this is to join forces with others.

We like to share and support other organisations doing good things for people with a disability.  So from time to time, i will be introducing you to some of these organisations who share our goal and vision, and also help people with a disability to have a voice.

My Disability Matters

My Disability Matters is a fantastic service we have recently connected with, and we love to share information and support others. Untapped is very happy to share this service who provides valuable resources to people with disability, family members and people who have an interest in disability issues.

Visit My Disability Matters

My Disability Matters Club

Living with disability can be lonely and very challenging Are you a person living with disability? Are you a family member or carer of someone with a disability? Do you work in the disability services sector? The My Disability Matters Club has been created just for you Make new friends with people who understand you.

My Disability Matters believes that many people with disability are isolated and don’t have access to information that could enhance their lives. To provide a solution to this situation, My Disability Matters endeavors to address this by providing people with disability and their loved ones an online news, information and a social platform.

The My Disability Matters club (MDM Club)

The free social network offered by My Disability Matters is known as the MDM Club. The club provides people the opportunity to meet others in similar circumstances.

Members of the club can have open discussions of disability issues. They are able to meet others touched by disability from across the globe and find peer support.

As a person with disability I know how useful it is to speak with other people in similar situations. We are able to share our experiences and to support each other. By conversing with others, it reduces our isolation. We learn that we are not the only ones who have encountered certain challenges caused by having a disability. This creates a sense of community for people with disability.

The MDM clubs offers online forums and they have specific club groups targeted for people who have similar interests.

The MDM club has a blog. People can hear stories from writers with a disability about their personal experiences. Writers also have a great opportunity to share their work. As a freelance writer with a disability, excitement fuelled my veins when I heard about this blog.

I believe that MDM are part of a social movement acting as an agent for social change. By sharing the stories of people with disability, society can view us as valuable citizens.

Platforms such as MDM and Untapped allow people with disability to have a voice. For too long our voices have been suppressed. It is empowering to know that not only our voices can be heard, our voices are valued. This provides us a beacon of hope.

Leave a Comment

Job applicants with a disability at a disadvantage

‘To whom it may concern’.

I have written the above line to potential employers applying for a position countless times. I always mentioned in my applications that I have a disability. I rarely received the courtesy of a reply.

I often wonder whether this was due to the fact that I have a disability.

Whether they know it or not, employers are discriminating against job applicants who disclose they have a disability on their applications.

The article by May Bulman shows how job applicants with a disability are being discriminated against in the U.K., Bulman writes that research shows that people with disability have to apply for 60% more jobs than applicants without a disability.  Bulman wrote about a woman Lauren Pitt, 24, who has a vision disability and struggled to obtain employment. She was a university graduate with high marks. She didn’t expect finding a job would be as difficulty. It took her nine months to gain work. This was after she applied for 250 positions which led to only a few interviews.

This is similar to my situation.

When I graduated from uni I applied for multitudes of jobs over the course of a few years. From the many job applications I only had two call-backs for an interview. I sought professional help in writing my applications. I believed I had the essential requirements for the job. When I applied for countless positions without receiving a response, I was extremely despondent. I felt like an utter failure.

I had yet to discover that many people with disability have the same experience.

A Journalist Ashitha Nagesh writes of another case in the U.K., where university graduate Daryl Jones applied for 400 job vacancies receiving no response. When he took out all references of his disability off his CV, he was soon contacted to attended job interviews.

Mathew Townsend, a man from Brisbane with a hearing disability, who struggles to find work. He is equipped with two university degrees. He has completed an internship with Telstra and has presented papers at three conferences. One would assume from his credentials he would be an excellent employee. However he cannot obtain employment after applying for many positions.

Read the article here

Disabled people have to apply for 60% more jobs than non-disabled people before finding one

Disabled people need to apply for 60 per cent more jobs than non-disabled jobseekers before they find work, new research shows. An Opinium survey of 2,000 disabled people also found that more than half (51 per cent) of applications from disabled people result in an interview, compared with 69 per cent for non-disabled applicants.

Research shows the cases above aren’t isolated.

Researchers at the National Bureau of Economic Research  USA wanted to determine how people’s disability affects their chances of being considered for employment. The researchers submitted 6,016 false applications to positions at accounting firms. One third of the applicants mentioned having Asperger’s Syndrome, another third disclosed a spinal cord injury in their applications.  The remaining third of applicants did not disclose any disability. The results showed applicants without disabilities were 26% more likely to get an expression of interest from an employer than the applicants who disclosed a disability.

Jean-François Ravaud, Béatrice Madiot and Isabelle Ville conducted a similar study to determine whether job applicants with a disability were disadvantaged. Some applicants claimed to have a disability while others didn’t. The study found that the candidates without a disability were more likely to receive a favorable response than those with a disability.

Research conducted by Vision Australia found that 53% of the job-seekers who are blind or have low vision will give up looking for employment because they are too disheartened.

One of the main reasons why candidates with a disability are unsuccessful is due to an employer’s attitudes toward people with disability.

The situation may appear bleak for job applicants with a disability. However, I strongly believe there are actions to be taken to improve it.

We need to educate employers so when they see the term disability on a job application, they will not be instilled with fear. On the contrary when they see an suitable applicant who has a disability they will think potential.

Leave a Comment