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.
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!