Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Community Living

What is involved in Community Living?

The National Disability Insurance Scheme or NDIS is more than a change in the way people with disabilities for their support needs, such as personal care and community access.  It is a scheme for all Australians to ensure the rights of people living with disabilities are upheld.  Ideally the NDIS seeks in increase the social and economic participation in their local community.

What does this mean and how can it be achieve? The United Nations has been concerned for some time that people living with disabilities do not have equal access to all areas of their communities due to barriers that have been established by the way communities are established and function.
Transforming Community Access
under the NDIS.

Traditionally in terms of disabilities the barriers that come to mind are stair cases, parking spaces and physical access to amenities. Yet barriers that are as equally isolating are access to communication, education, employment, information, technology and the justice system.  Many of the barriers exist due to our current lack of knowledge about disability and the barriers imposed by a community (unknowingly).

Disability is a term commonly referred to as an individual who has an impairment that may become disabling due to the way a community is structured.  The school system is one aspect of community life that can disable people living with impairments. Impairments may be physical meaning the buildings themselves pose a barrier; intellectual meaning not everyone can participate in the same way and at the same rate;   behavioural or sensory meaning traditional classroom structures prevent some children from learning in a manner suited to their own needs.

The presence of a certain types of impartments does not mean a child cannot learn nor does it result in a reduction of comprehension level.  What limits these individuals is the communities adopts of norms and a blank one size fits approach to most of the systems that allow society and therefore or communities to operate.

Disability is not about an individual but the community.  Working towards the protection of human rights for all Australians, not just those who fit the majority means challenging that way our communities are govern by norms, that until now have been based on misconceptions; such a individuals with learning and intellectual disabilities are ‘childlike’, unable to learn and have very limited comprehension.  Often it is asked ‘what is there metal age? A hypnotical number not holding much relevance in a mature community that values a person as individual,


Restructuring a community to assist with the building of inclusion, means we need to recognised that communities are not made from streets of houses, buildings and public places. Community is a living organism that changes and emerges overtimes.  Inclusion does not involve the rebuilding or real estate, it involves the restructure social norms, values and beliefs we now know are based on myths.

Establishing an inclusive community can only occur where communities are willing to grow together and excise an attitude of listening and learning how to work and play together.  The only way equality for individuals living with disabilities can be achieved is restructuring our systems to suit the needs of all members of our community.

As individuals we may be impaired but collectively we continue to disable each other.  I am asking you to see the NDIS as an opportunity for member of our community to learn from each other and to grow into an inclusive community that is second to none.


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