Which of the following statements best describes you?
I’m a parent / guardian or other family member of a person with disability
During the first stage of consultations we heard that the vision and the six outcome areas under the current Strategy are still the right ones. Do you have any comments on the vision and outcome areas being proposed for the new Strategy?
Unfortunately, even though there is a framework people do not adhere to it. I live near a school where almost all the equipment was accessible in the playground. They received a grant to upgrade their playground equipment and now most of it is inaccessible. How can this strategy ensure that all schools everywhere only install accessible equipment from now on. ALL children can play on accessible equipment. It is not reasonable to have one item accessible, this isolates and defines the child using that equipment as different. Guidance should be all future capital works should be accessible. The standard for disabled toilet needs to change so that at major venues, all schools and hospitals there are “changing places bathrooms” https://changingplaces.org.au . education policies should change from “making reasonable changes” to having a base standard at all schools over the next 5 years and “the education system will provide specific supports”. Why do schools still need to make capital works modifications almost 3 decades after the discrimination act came in?
What do you think about the guiding principles proposed here?
I note in the list of people considered priority that the profoundly disabled are not represented these would be people with combined mobility, speech and intellectual disabilities – they are the most vulnerable and most at risk of abuse/neglect and discrimination.
I think the guiding principles are good but how this will achieve a cultural shift as compared to the last decade I am not sure.
At the school my son they react rather than plan which leads to delays in access for example 3 years to have disabled bathroom modified to allow hoisting, 4 years to build ramp so he can access the playground (but nothing in it he can play on), 5 years to install ramp so he could have direct route to school hall (similar to his peers) and we are still waiting for use of recommended software needed for academic development. There needs to be somewhere we can go easily that is not to that department to ensure the schools respond in a reasonable timeframe – all of these things were identified 5 months prior to him attending the school.
How will systemic cultural shift occur in the education system? I believe that there needs to be specific parameters to be met rather than guiding principles otherwise in another 10 years we will be in the same place.
What is your view on the proposal for the new Strategy to have a stronger emphasis on improving community attitudes across all outcome areas?
I think this starts at school. If children are educated with children of all abilities in an inclusive environment that is modelled by teachers all the time then they will grow up with different attitudes. If we continue to have children with disabilities in “special schools” or units and continued to be isolated and not included in mainstream schools then those peer children will grow up thinking that is the way to treat this group of the community.
How do you think that clearly outlining what each government is responsible for could make it easier for people with disability to access the supports and services they need?
If this is possible it would at least make people responsible. Please put some timeframes on how quick they need to respond, not just acknowledging issue but solving it.
How do you think the Strategy should represent the role that the non-government sector plays in improving outcomes for people with disability?
I think having a website that shows businesses how to include people with disabilities with stories of success would be great way of helping them understand the possibilities. it is important to show very simple stories as well as exceptional ones. Most public success stories of people with disabilities are of very successful or exceptional things whereas like the rest of us most people with disabilities are average and that is what we need represented. the just say hi campaign of CPA USA is very useful.
What kind of information on the Strategy’s progress should governments make available to the public and how often should this information be made available?
Yes reporting is important otherwise how can you know if change is happening.
How are you going to do it is the issue. It needs to be at the coal face and not asking departments as they will colour things to show they are meeting whatever KPI they have.
What do you think of the proposal to have Targeted Action Plans that focus on making improvements in specific areas within a defined period of time (for example within one, two or three years)?
Yes have targeted action plans make them one year so that there needs to be progress quickly – if you make it 3 years at the end of that time they will say not able to achieve and need to start from scratch again.
One target could be all schools are wheelchair accessible in classroom, throughout school and playground (with 50% of the equipment accessible) with changing places space (that can be quickly equipped) by 5 years. Make this reportable.
Another target could be ALL capital works of schools must meet minimum accessibility standards.
Another target could be to review standard around disabled toilets to meet the needs of those most physically disabled (changing places bathrooms)
Finally have a working group to define how inclusion looks in schools – one year. Implementation of this 2 years.
How could the proposed Engagement Plan ensure people with disability, and the disability community, are involved in the delivery and monitoring of the next Strategy?
Develop a network of local groups that report to the same authority – this would need to be voluntary but supported by govt with meeting spaces, technology. All disability organisations in the area could be members or feed to that group.
currently disabled people are represented by a variety of organisations and unfiying the voice is difficult.
disability comes in many forms and what is important for one person is different for the next so determining type of disability is important for determining actions.
Is there anything else you would like to share about the ideas and proposals in the position paper?
I think the proposals are good for general principles but it is the detail that i would like to know.