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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


Brode Carmody

Wendy Lu

Bill Gamack

Cara Leibowitz


Affliction Fiction


Laurens Van Sluytman





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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


Jono Bredin,Libby Callaway and Kate Tregloan


Dr George Taleporos cited in

Eli Gibbs

Justin Nix Justin Nix

Victorian Council of Social Services


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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.


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.


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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.


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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.

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A Great Step in the Right Direction

Jordon Steele-John, who is set to fill Scott Ludlam’s seat in the Senate for the Australian Greens: ‘I’m capable and ready to do this job.’ Photograph: Greens


Excitement infused my veins as I read that Jordon Steele-John, a man with cerebral palsy, is next in line to be the next Western Australian Green Senator.

As a woman with a disability, this represents a huge milestone for the disability community. I strongly believe this illustrates that people with a disability are starting to be included in all areas of life.

Mr Steele-John who attends university, claimed that having a disability shouldn’t prevent anyone from achieving their goals. Mr Steele-John stated that he yearns to be a voice for people with disability.

As a person with a disability, when I was young I wasn’t aware of anyone with a disability in leadership roles. I didn’t really have role models with a disability, so having this representation is so important.

Mr Steele-John had to be creative whilst campaigning as the Greens candidate in Freemantle in 2013. He stated that door knocking may have been a challenge. However, he negotiated his way around this by distributing leaflets in a shopping centre, from a table containing campaign material.This shows that people with a disability may not use standard methods for achieving their goals. However, they can use alternative methods and achieve the same outcome.

I resonate with Mr Steele-John’s experience. I am often viewed as a person who requires care, not as a productive member of society. Not only is this disheartening for people with a disability, it also deprives society from reaping the benefits of having a highly productive workforce.


Ludlam’s likely replacement Steele-John wants to open doors for people with disabilities

Jordon Steele-John, a 22-year-old student who has cerebal palsy and uses a wheelchair and is the frontrunner to replace Scott Ludlam in the Senate, says he wants to break down barriers that stop people participating as full and equal citizens.

Why is this exciting?

Many people, including myself, are excited with the prospect of having someone with a disability in parliament.

I strongly believe we must strive for the time when a person with a disability becomes a member of parliament and it is considered the norm.

We become enthusiastic when we see people with a disability achieve goals people without a disability are expected to achieve. When people without a disability become a member of parliament for instance, we probably wouldn’t consider this to be too out of the ordinary.

I hope one day we will simply expect people with a disability to be members of parliament and to be active participants in all areas of society. I believe there will be a time when people with disability will be included in all areas of life.

People may say I’m a dreamer. However, I believe this can be a reality.


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Welcome to Untapped, a Newcastle initiative to create change for people with disabilities.

Newcastle Coast

What are we doing?

The inspiration for the Untapped platform occurred just over a year ago to create change in the way businesses, employers and communities think about employing people with disabilities.

Natasha Hudson from Coforte Consulting approached Response Services with the idea to bring a diverse team of people together to enhance the economic participation of people with disabilities. This diverse team of people consists of people with disabilities, carers, government representatives, service providers and other small businesses, have come together to identify existing innovation, barriers and practical solutions for economic development for people with living with disabilities. From this initial idea, Untapped was developed.


What is Untapped?

The Untapped platform was designed to create change in the way businesses, employers and communities think about employing people with disabilities. People with disabilities steer this platform to educate and alter widespread misconceptions and behaviour. The objective is for this platform to be a trusted resource for employers and the wider community.  The aim is to inspire mainstream business to become more inclusive. Once I was told of the objective of the platform I was in! I am extremely passionate regarding the topic of increasing employment opportunities for people with disabilities. As a person with a disability, my main objective in life has been to achieve employment, however, this has been thwarted due to employers misconceptions. I strongly believe if employers were educated, their attitudes would alter dramatically. I’m extremely enthused to be a part of this platform.

Earlier in the year, I was privileged to be asked to be a part of the Untapped platform. I approached Response Services to seek assistance in finding work. When I met Loesja Koleniuk from Response Services, I informed her I was a qualified researcher and writer.  I sought assistance in having my own business as a freelance writer. I told her about some of the challenges I’ve had with obtaining employment in the past. After reviewing my skills, Response Services offered me work as a freelance writer for the Untapped platform they were developing. I was ecstatic, and extremely impressed with Response Services. Not only do they talk the talk, they walk the walk. Response Services are actually doing what they are promoting, they are including people with disabilities.

My task is to write a blog each week. I include research and experiences of other people with disabilities. I also include my own personal experience of having a disability. This may appear self-indulgent, but I believe my experience may educate people and they will hopefully see I’m an extremely capable woman. By sharing my story with people with disabilities, it is my hope that others can learn from my experience.


Strategic non-profit partnerships can offer a slew of attractive benefits. From improving outreach efforts to enhancing programs, services and can help your organisation improve its impact, and sustainability. So, in an effort to expand outreach efforts and enhance the effectiveness of Untapped, we wanted to partner with other movements, businesses and organisations.

In In June we met with Mark Bagshaw, Co-founder and Chair of The Able Movement, a new social movement working to change attitudes about this enormous capacity people with disability bring to our society. The Able Movement shares the vision of Untapped, to bring about change and share the stories to demonstrate capabilities of people with disabilities. The Able Movement firmly believes that people with disabilities are capable of participating at all levels of society, they aspire to show employers that ability outweighs disability. Together, Untapped and The Able Movement recognises the power of sharing stories in generating social change. These stories will show the vibrancy of people with disabilities.

The Untapped platform will allow the voices of people with disabilities to be heard. Furthermore, it will show employers that people with disabilities can be extremely productive employees. We will show how hiring people with disabilities can enhance businesses. Society will reap benefits from an increase of people with disabilities in the workforce. We hope that the platform will be the impetus for change in the economic situation for people with disabilities.

Please join us in this journey.


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