Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Towards Inclusion

Towards Inclusion - Living A Better Life!

Ipswich Festival 2016

Today along with three other leaders I presented my leadership Journey over the last 18 months. Each of us undertook a project around embracing social inclusion.  Today we shared our successes and our struggles as leaders with disability. A leader is not necessary the head of a team, but someone who path the way for social change.

As my readers are aware the National Disability Insurance Scheme is the new way we support people with disabilities across Australia. This is a fundamental shift in the way we think about assisting people with disabilities and their families to live in the community.

However social inclusion is not a disability issue, rather a community issue. The NDIS will support around 90, 000 Queenslanders to actively participation in the community, it is not another system of care! Its a system that hands support and control to those living with disability to manage 'supports' or 'assistance' to live their best lives.

It is not about help to live at home or support employment - while these are elements is about people needs, the real change driving the scheme is social participation and economical contribution. People living with disability putting their hands up to say, 'count me in'!

The real work of the NDIS is its drive towards social inclusion.  To achieve this we need to assist the community to understand who we are.

People like everyone else!

Spinning on wheels,
Searching for deals.
We like a night out,
Watching the football.
Sometimes the TV calls.
We are people like us.

We’re mothers and fathers,
Your sons and daughters.
The sisters who become best friends.
We’re your uncles, your aunts,
Even your grandmothers.
We are people like us.

We’re the poets and artists,
Craftsmen and cabinet makers.
The apprentice chefs,
Your IT specialists.
Even the law makers.
We are people like us.

We tap on our keys,
Surfing the net.
Use voice activation
On our modified boards.
Even read books in Braille.
We are people like us.

We laugh and cry
Through life’s highs and lows.
We celebrate birth,
And watch those we love die.
We journey with the joy and the sorrow.
We are people like us.

We play soccer and footy,
Take on the basketball courts.
We wheel through marathons,
And race the 100 metres too.
Even become elite athletes.
We are people like us.

We sing and we dance,
And watch our children play.
We cook cakes for the school fete,
As we tuck our kids in at night.
We pray that they’ll be alright.
We are people like us.

We attend schools and TAFE,
Some of us study for life.
We ride trains to arrive at work,
We pay our bills, even the rent,
Often spending too much on food.
We are people like us.

But too many of us live in homes,
Where others residents are about eighty. 
We take our pain killers and medicine,
Watch TV instead of going out dating.
Craving real coffee from Coffee Club.
We are people like us.

Some of us choose to be trapped,
Others fight the boxes that box us in.
Houses and housemates we may not like,
Doing the same thing despite true passions.
Not living, rather, just existing.
We are people like us.

We are people like us.
Brothers and sisters,
Journeying through life.
Laughing with you,
Carrying your sorrow too.
We are people just like you.

You make us different,
Stand us apart.
Create little boxes to fit us in.
Insist on hiding us away.
Pretend we don’t belong, when
We are people just like you.

Debbie Chilton © Copyright 2014

Regardless of the nature of a person's disability, the UN charter of human rights, said ALL people are equal and all people should have access to suitable housing, education, employment, economical wellbeing, social opportunities and recreation.  This does not and never should of excluded people living with intellectual disability or challenging behaviours.

What disables us the most are the social barriers the deny us to access to education, family dinning experiences and sitting for a drives license. It sadness me to have to further spell this our but many of our projects stumbled when we wanted one rule for all.  We didn't not see why someone with a intellectual disability could not do a degree or work as a professional artist.

In my project that should have made them the decision makers, on the workshops they chose, what work they did or didn't want to sell, learning how to price work.  All of the artist I knew were capable of this.  Only the way they need information is different. 

What is difference between a IQ of 69 and 71? It could be the administer of the test of a  different testing day.  IQ testing in not like a blood test. IQ tests are subjective and some with a IQ of 64 may perform better academically than someone with an IQ of 73 because of others like focusing abilities and the absence of behaviours. How am I (especial when I do not know what individuals IQ's are) to decide who can price their own work and who can't.

As leader my job is to simply empower the artists I work with to take their own directions, these are artists in training and I make no apologies for having the same requirements for all participants. 

Failure is part of an experience in life, to deny people a chance to have a go, robs them not only of the experience of failure but the chance to experience success as well. 

In the words of one of the other presenters today,  'I might be hitting my head against a brick wall here, but that is my choice to make',   None of us retired today, we just passed another milestone in a leadership journey. 

All of us leave with a resolve to increase community understanding and build bridges to an inclusive community.

The way to change the world is one person at a time!

~ Deb Chilton ~

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