Five things that make people with disability feel included in the community
How can we help make our communities more inclusive for people with disability? Five talented young people with disability have made animated videos with their top tips.
1. Be open and respectful
Jack Kelly says that by being open and respectful, we will see that people with disability are really no different to us. That’s an important step to making people with disability feel welcome in our community.
“People often stare at me. I have built a bit of a wall so I don’t always notice it,” he says. “Don’t stare at me. Talk to me instead. Find out who I am. I am no different than you.”
2. Make information easier to read
What if you wanted to bake a cake for your mum’s birthday, but couldn’t because you couldn’t understand the recipe?
That’s the situation Alanna Julian found herself in. All it took was a little help from her brother, who translated the recipe’s instructions into an ‘Easy Read’ format. With that, Alanna was able to bake the cake and surprise her mum.
Making a recipe easy to read gave Alanna the chance to do something special for a loved one. Making written materials easy to read – such as forms, job contracts and service agreements – opens up the world to people with intellectual disability.
3. Be aware of disabilities
Alex Elliot explains that being aware of a person’s disability can make a huge difference. He gives the example of his school experience. He found school challenging, but some teachers could understand his disability and were able to help.
“There were staff at the school who understood me. These teachers took the time to explain where I was going wrong, and [instil] a sense of pride in my work.”
With help from these teachers, Alex’s grades improved. He now also writes professionally. Awareness among those more aware staff members made a lasting difference in Alex’s life.
4. Have a supportive and friendly attitude
Ben Alexander also found school difficult because he was bullied a lot. But he flourished when he was accepted by a group of open, supportive friends.
“I was able to tell my friends anything without being judged. My friends were like a safety net. Don’t judge. Like me for who I am. Friends make me feel safe.”
5. Re-think physical design and environment
As a wheelchair user, Ace Boncato often finds the design of physical spaces challenging, especially packed trains: “As the doors open, I feel like there’s a stampede of boxing boot-campers coming towards me. My view is bottoms and bags.”
Inclusion for Ace is not just about physical access, but also people’s attitudes: “Accessibility is to do with physical environments, but equally important are attitudes. Just be mindful that we co-exist in shared spaces.”
These films were funded by the NDIS through the Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) National Readiness Grants.