Taking the NDIS to diverse communities

17 April 2018

“Our translated workshops are very important. They help people know what is going on at the moment and how to get involved with the NDIS, and how the NDIS affects people’s day-to-day lives.” – Shu Hua Chan, Council for Intellectual Disability (CID) Chairperson.

According to recent reports, the take-up of the NDIS among Australia’s culturally and linguistically diverse communities remains low.

Language can be a barrier when trying to make sense of the NDIS, with its often technical and complicated words. But culture can also play a part. The NDIS is such a different way of providing disability support, many find it foreign and difficult to understand.

Workshops on the NDIS for diverse communities

We want everyone with disability to have voice, choice and control – language and culture should not stop people with disability participating in the community and living a good life. That’s why CID is reaching out to these important communities through translated workshops about the NDIS.

“Some people [from non-English backgrounds] don’t know that the NDIS can support you for TAFE, courses, and support workers.” says Shu Hua Chan, CID Chairperson. “The NDIS can help people get out in the community, and take part in their social groups, hobbies, arts and crafts, and cooking. (I love cooking!)”

The feedback from our translated workshops has been very positive.

“Most people who have attended the workshops know almost nothing at all about the NDIS,” says Kathy Liu, the Ability Linker at Settlement Services International, who we have held a number of workshops with. “One workshop is often not enough. Last year, for example, one group of Chinese participants attended five workshops. It took a long time for some people to start understanding the NDIS and prepare their NDIS plan.”

Kathy has received great feedback from our workshops.

“At a recent workshop, one participant told me that, even though he had registered with the NDIS for his son with autism, he had no idea where to start with his plan,” she says.

“After the workshop, he came up to tell me he now had lots of ideas for his plan. And he asked for a follow-up workshop so he could work on the NDIS plan for his son. That’s such a positive outcome.”

Kathy has also seen how culture can be a barrier to accessing the NDIS and local services for people in the Chinese community.

“Sometimes if you even mention the word ‘disability’, people run away or say ‘it is not my business’,” she says. “We will often use words such as ‘vulnerable’ or ‘disadvantaged’, so we can get people to just start talking about disability.”

Would you like an NDIS workshop in your language?

Earlier this month we ran a workshop in Mandarin. Over the next few months we will be holding workshops in Arabic, Assyrian, Farsi, Cantonese, Dari, and Khmer.

At each workshop, a professional translator connects participants with our expert facilitators, and helps participants ask questions and share experiences in their first language.

We’d like to hold more workshops in more languages. If you would like a Get More Skills workshop in your language, call us on 1800 424 065.

The workshops focus on the NDIS and how to live a good life. Topics covered include:

  • Think about what makes a good life for you
  • Practise setting goals and speaking up
  • Understand your NDIS plan
  • Take home tools to help you prepare for your NDIS meetings

The workshops are free and open to anyone with a disability, or who is a family member or carer. Find out more about our workshops.

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