Fix ndis now!
Can people with disabilities make
their own choices?
Packages under the National Disability Insurance Scheme ndis are determined by the hopes and aspirations of participant. This goal can be as simple as finishing high school, for someone of school age. Goals of participants include the daily activities they wish to enjoy like fishing. Most participants can tell you if they like fishing or not.
Under the ndis these are the types of choices participants and carers and families can make, that gives them more direction over their lives. The above statement assumes most participants and their guardians do not have the intellectual ability to know what to choose and what is 'in their best interests'. Disability comes in may forms and is best describe as any impairment that hinders the person to access society in the normal way. A disability may indeed affect intellectual ability, however this is only a small group in the overall ndis participants group.
Statements such as 'people with disabilities not having the ability to chose what is best for themselves', are now being made in response to the perceived failings on the ndis. Such attitudes come from a medical model of care for people with disability. A model that assumes all people with disability are 'sick, incomplete and incapability's.' This is the truth for only a small number of ndis participants and the truth is in that case the persons legal guardian is responsible for ndis planning.
The ndis model of choice recognizes that the vast majority of those access the scheme can engage and contribute to the life of community. Fundamentally the ndis recognizes the human right for all individuals to make choices for their own life or the life of their children. The current failings of the ndis have nothing to do with participants ability to make choices.
Many of the current problems with the ndis related to accessing the ndis system rather than a inability to choose what activities participants want to engage in. As people enter the ndis the first barrier is the application process and the ndis website is not user friendly. How do you expect people to make informed choices when the website is not user friendly?
Secondly, it assumes everyone has access to the internet and the ability to used technology. This is the single largest access barrier for people with intellectual disabilities in the 21 st century and yet administrations choose it as the point of entry. This shows how little the general public understands about the real access issues. We have made the ndis inaccessibly. Even I struggle to use the ndis website and revert to using google.
Clearly people with disabilities and their guardians understand their personal access issues and the supports needed to overcome them better than the administrators of the ndis. The whole point of the ndis was to provide multiple pathways to access the supports needed, rather than a standard model of care.
The 'winners' under the ndis are participants like me with the ability to create our pathways, the 'losers' are those under the adult guardian with no access to the ndis websites. How condescending is it for those who created an inaccessible system to blame our lack of knowledge for its failings.
Making Choices and Empowering Lives!
ndis has the potential to be life changing and this has certainly been my own experience. So think about the life changing choices you have made in your life; university, job, getting married or buying a house? How did you make these choices and what information did you need to access to make those choices. People with disabilities and their unpaid carers need access to information in a way that is user friendly for them. Clearly the website denies them of information.
How do you choose a bank loan to apply for if you don't know what the different banks are offering? Participants and carers should be assisted to access information so they can make the right choices for their lives, in the same way you or I would buy a house.
Just like other parents who choose what school to send their children to and the activities they can take part in after school, parents with children have those same rights and responsibilities. If my parents had taken the advice of medical professionals I would not have a university degree or be living independently on my own. Not all children born with cp have a intellectual disability. Human beings don't function to the text books or information on a website these days, we are individuals who need individual solutions to the access issues we encounter. The ndis brings a new approach to assisting participants, because the old system failed.
The new system will continue to fail people who it seeks to empower if the administrations keeps reaching for the perscription pad. People living with disabilities do have goals, aspirations, dreams and hopes and we and our families know our abilities better than those who claim to be clarifty. We should choose which type of therapies to access, equipment to suit own lifestyles and the supports we want to access. Only we have that lived experience.
ndis should be empowering us not disabling us!