Episode 1 - Understanding disability
Do you know the word disability has no set definition? That holds across the board.
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) - DIRECT QUOTE - Disability is an umbrella term for impairment of body function or structure, activity limitations, or participation restrictions. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics - Disability is any limitation, restriction, or impairment which restricts everyday activities and has lasted or is likely to last for at least six months.
Do you understand what a disability is? We feel it’s important to begin discussing and understanding disabilities—after all, 1 in 5 people living in Australia have some form of disability! So it made sense to help foster the discussion on understanding disability before we entered the maze that is NDIS.
Disabilities come in all shapes and sizes and can present themselves in many ways, meaning they aren’t always immediately visible. They can be physical (i.e. difficulty using limbs), sensory (i.e. hearing or vision impairments), cognitive (i.e. learning difficulties), mental health conditions, or intellectual disabilities. Many people with disability will use mobility aids such as wheelchairs or walking sticks which help them move around independently… however sometimes ‘invisible’ disabilities such as anxiety may mean someone prefers not to leave their home without a care or support dog by their side".
Each type of disability is unique and comes with varying levels of impairment. That is how much it affects a person. Some people may have a mild form, some moderate, and others severe form. Whatever the type of disability, though, fundamental human rights should always be respected, such as the right to life, equality, non-discrimination, and, if I may add so, love and friendship. Understanding these principles is pivotal if you want to provide adequate support for those with disabilities, whether you’re a loved one, a stranger supporting someone during an emergency, or part of their day-to-day care team.
UNDERSTANDING DISABILITY Numbers As per AIHW, 1 in 6 people, or 4.4 million people, have a disability in Australia. Interestingly other places, you find the number to be 5 million. 1 in 3 people has severe disabilities. 1 in 4 people has a mental and behavioural disability. Remember what we spoke about before? Many times, people's disability is not always obvious. If you like to see the survey report, I will put the link in the show notes for you to check out the survey numbers in Australia.
At the same time, every individual with a disability has different needs. A survey reveals 1 in 3 people have profound disabilities. They need carers to meet their every need. It is easy to forget the needs of people with disability when we ourselves are not struggling with them. Most people with disability can lead a healthy, fulfilling life with the right support, where they can execute choice and control just as others who do not have disabilities do. Others who can not look after themselves need us to fight their battles. After all, what do we live for if not to make life less difficult for each other?
So, in a nutshell,
Disability can be of many kinds and affect different people differently. Disability is not always visible. And if you are still here listening to me, we are in the same camp. Thank you for trying your best to make this world a better place.