Wednesday, January 10, 2018

NDIS Time to Speak Up

The National Disability Insurance Scheme or the ndis is more than just providing support and assistance for people with disabilities. It is one step in ensuring the Human Rights of a minority group who until now have had 'no voice', On the road to what has become known as the ndis, the battle ground was formed by a grassroots campaign known as Everybody Counts.

A movement lead by people with disabilities, their families and the people who support them.  The focus of this movement that we all count and people with disabilities wanted to be countered in the lives of their community!

When we're asking to be counted in we are asking to be treated on an equal footing as everybody else. While we are appreciative of compassion, we no longer want to be viewed as unfortunate or charity recipients. 

Being on equal footing means doing the same things as everybody else: Like schooling, sports; education; training; employment, recreation and participants in the governing of Australia. For two long people with a disability have not had a voice, either too

  • Communication difficulties
  • Or perceived ability to understand
Intellectual ability does not determine a person's ability to think and reason. A individual's comprehension is determine by a much wider spectrum than an IQ level.  Finding our voice is about the ability to make statements the hold meaning and value.  It about having our words herd, understood and validated.  Our statement should hold equal wait to other community member regardless of the presence of disability.  

Finding Our Voice

Some people believe the successful introduction of the ndis ensures the protection of human rights for people with disabilities  It does not. Those who have enter to scheme know that out ability to access certain aspects of the ndis needs to be improven. Those who fall under the adult guardian for example, are urged to have the ndia administer their package. I am not going to argue this in not necessary, for some financial management is beyond their ability in the skill area.

That's the whole point that the ndis looks at each individual and the abilities they have.  Where those abilities are deficient determine an area where assistance is needed. As a whole the ndis empowers individuals to make choices.  However it is still a system reliant on humans to determine what assistance needs to be provided. Mistakes are made and when this occurs people with disabilities have both a right and a responsibility to bring this to the attend of others, to achieve this we need to find our individual and collective voice. 

People with significant communication issues will always need the assistance of an advocate to ensure the are correctly herd. Advocacy occurs on many levels, however it begins at the individual level where a person or family said this is what I want. 

To advocate or to have access to an advocate is a basic human right and attempt to remove access to an advocate due to the perception a person can now do it themselves is a breach of the International Human Rights Charter.  We all need to engage advocates at different times in our lives.  Advocacy usually relates to the law or legal matter, their are times when we all need to seek a professional to advocate on our behalf. In most cases this involves a lawyer. 

Many people with disabilities are denied access to the law on the base of disability or mental illness, regardless of which side of the law they find themselves.  A statement or testimony can be ruled invalid on the grounds of disability.  The legal profession doesn't need to prove the disability impairs the persons judgement. While people with disabilities remain less equal under out legal system they will always need to engage an advocate.

Where a person feels 'wronged' by a decision made by the National Disability Insurance Agency they have a right to either make a formal complaint or ask for an independent review. This is simply acknowledging  we are all human and we all make mistakes. Of course that a mistake has occurred still needs to be proven. 

Under previous 'disability care models' organisations have viewed people with disabilities as patients. The majority of people with disabilities are not sick and do not need medical care. They may just need assistance to take their medications. Historical we have taken a position that disability means less able where in fact disability occurs as a result of an impairment. Impairment refers to 'normal' function range. Under this definition short sighted people have a disability, a disability correct by glasses or contact lenses.

In some cases disability can be overcome through medical aids and physical modification of buildings and cars. Meaning the person can function like any other person in the community. Clearly in these cases the individual doesn't need care.  The historical approach to disability as left people feeling dis-empowered. 

If you feeling nothing has changed under the ndis then now is the time you need to find your voice.

Time To Speak Up

  1. Be prepared: Know your goals and the activities you want to engage in; know what supports you receive; know your needs; know how you want to be supported; understand the ndis language.
  2. Everybody has a right to a support person. You should not attend a planning meeting on your own.  There's too much to remember.
  3. What you don't understand you need to ask for clarification. The only dumb question is the one you don't ask. 
  4. Keep a record - write notes to jug your memory and ask your support person 'what they think about things'?
  5. If you are still uncertain you can seek and independent advocate and their are organisations out there to assist you to navigate the ndis. 
  6. Use google: Where your questions are not answered try google.      
  7. Engage an independent advocate to discuss your concerns with the ndis.
  8. Use your Local Area Coordinator to help you access information.
  9. Find allies: These are people who can support you to activated your ndis plan. These people may include family, friends service provider coordination, a supports coordination, GP or a peer group of participants. The Queensland Disability Network has peer support groups in many areas where you can share you experience. 
  10. Know your rights. You have the right to ask for support; you have the right to ask for a review and you have the right to make a complaint.
If you feel like nothing has changed under the ndis it might be time to speak up!

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