Deafblind Association (NSW) Inc

Disability peak body

Janne Bidenko

Deafblind Associatiuon (NSW) Inc

1. The objective of the NDAP..access to effective disability advocacy….To be effective for Deafblind people (combined vision & hearing impairment) advocacy cannot be provided by generic advocacy, because the issues and communication varies across this cohort, it needs the expertise in NSW of the only relevant organisation (although at present unfunded after 27 years of operation)Deafblind Association (NSW).
2. The importance of independent advocacy is recognised by Commonwealth Govt. but commitment to effective independent advocacy must consider cohots such as Aboriginal, CALD and other specific cohorts with special communication needs such as Deafblind community.
3. The vision for NDAP includes an equitable funding model, but this cannot be achieved unless specific advocacy for Deafblind people is addressed.
This includes people with acquired deafblindness such as Ushers 1 and 2 syndromes, who have been isolated within their homes because there has been no funding for deafblindness, so unable to travel into or communicate in the general community without support. They will receive NDIS funding but will need specific advocacy to adress problems that this brings.
Most importantly, with NDIS, contenitally Deafblind people who live in group homes and denied communication (but had this in RIDBC school to the age of 18)because staff cannot communicate, need the advocacy of Deafblind Association with their NDIS planning to ensure that their Human Rights are addressed.
Therefore Q.2.1 ‘people who are very socially isolated including those with communication difficulties’? can only be improved by Deafblind Association being recognised as an Advocacy Service.
Q.4.2 ‘How do we avoid gaps between supports provided by the NDIS and Advocacy funded NDAP? There will be gaps for Deafblind people without a funded Advocacy Service in NSW to help them address specific needs to this combination of vision and hearing impairment.