Friday, December 15, 2017

NDIS - Reflection on the week it was . . .

Community Living

@Ipswich Rocks

Previously people with disabilities and their families have felt excluded from the community.  Feeling like the always lived on the edge of society, but weren't really contributes as participants in the social and economic contributes to the function of  society.  This was partly due to parents and carers of children with disabilities had little choice but to stay at home and carer for these kids.

One of the key reforms under the National Disability Insurance Scheme was to enable parents, carers and siblings to actively participate in the life of their community.  This should be occurring through providing support and respite to family members. When a child is born with disability sadly the whole family become set apart from society.  Access is about far more than being able to physically being able to access the humanities that our community provides.

I've talked before about the concept of the ndis being  scheme for all Australians.  This is due to the desire that our communities will overtime become more inclusive of people with disabilities and their families.  With a goal to see more people like myself engaged in employment and community work.  This is where addressing accessibility comes in.

Not just my own physical accessibility needs.  We can all see the physical access needs and barriers I encounter in my living in community life, as I strive to maintain my high level of independence.  Living independently is one of my ndis goals, and although I don't talk about this goal as much as my art, it pretty much underpins may daily activities and community involvements.

When were looking at social inclusion issues and building an environment where being different and doing things differently is OK or even cool!  In the general community there's a perception that the lives of people with disabilities are nothing like other members of the community.  

Building an accessible community means looking at access issues around education and technology; access to information and support to complete forms and read documents and support the community as a whole is its understanding and acceptance of those with disabilities.

People a totally taken back that someone of my level of disability lives on my own.  Obviously the have no idea how stubborn or determined I am to live a 'normal' live'.  That is the very thing my ndis package is design to do.  Give me a 'norm' lifestyle or a lifestyle of my peers. 

Support the community to appreciate and celebrate 
the talents of artist with disabilities.

This is the reason one of my goals is to build me Ignite Artists Network.  Art has provide me with a connection point to my local community.  Art in general connects people form all walks of life. It is a useful tool in Youth Work and reconnecting youth to employment and it decorates the homes of the rich and famous. Somewhere in between is the art that stimulates conversation. Which is one of my personal goals for 2018.

Many people with disabilities still feel voiceless
this is why I've chosen not give some of 
my dolls faces in my upcoming 
exhibition - 'Into The Melting Pot'.
I am hoping my Into the melting pot! Art Exhibition opening 9th February will promote discussion on social inclusion.  Working towards the exhibition and thus my visual art practice is pretty much dominating my thoughts at present  Its been a long journey, now I just want to present it well.

Those preparing their ndis plans should be giving some thought to the nature family and friendship networks. This is something that will be discussed in your ndis planning meeting.  Your ndis funding should support you in the gaps where your natural supports are lacking and enable you to build your social networks to support you better to allow you to participate in the community.  This might be to attend more group activities to make new friends or one on one support to volunteer in the community.

Remember how you connect with others is now your choice.  The ndis is there to support you to do the things you want to do.   Just as my package support me to run my art business.

Part of my network is also the neighbourhood in which I live.  Just as spending time with my friends builds the strength of my friends the same is true of my neighbours.  I live in a unit complex so every not again we tread on each other toes.  Just like fences cause tensions, my garden or its lack of attention has caused tension.  So I employ a landscape team to help me transform my a garden into a path area with raised garden beds I can reach.  Self funding as enable me to engage people with the skills needed to achieve my goal.

For me that is living in a peaceful environment.  Now I am looking forward to planting vegs and herbs to use in the kitchen with fails into my health living goals.  The other part of the goal is physio and exercise and his week I elected to change to physio active. After being dictate to by service provider, I find a mainstream business who is willing to offer flexibility.

I was delighted to find they are happy to be flexible with session times and only charge for the time I can work out on a given day. Oh after fully explaining my poor health.  If I can only give 10 minutes noticed that's ok.  That is better than turn up and obviously being in no shape to benefit from the session. 

So what's with the Christmas Tree made out of rocks?  Ipswich Rocks facebook group has been one way I've connected to the Ipswich and Queensland rock hides and finders.  I decorated the rocks and hide them for others to find.  What began as a marketing activity . . . as developed into an additive hobby.  I would not be able to enjoy this new community activity if I didn't have a support worker to accompany on hiding my rocks. 

The ndis has meant I no long need risking going out on my own.  The was always that . . . what if I have a seizures. I am now accessing 50 hours or more a week support allowing me to be out and about in the community.

Beware that being a member of Ipswich rocks leads to the highly additive process of creating and hiding rocks,  even some of my support workers are addicted.  I hope my post this week can help you think about how you might connect to the community through your ndis package.   

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