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Viewing entries tagged with 'disability'

Disabled children worth less than luggage...

Posted by Philip on 8 March 2012, 7:46 pm in , ,

I'm furious about the Campbell Live story about the bus driver who left a family's disabled son sitting in his wheelchair in the school bus, for four and a half hours.

Read more: http://www.3news.co.nz/Disabled-child-left-in-school-bus-for-hours/tabid/817/articleID/245707/Default.aspx#ixzz1oVPEOHcP

The Kawerau family rightly observed that the driver and bus company treated the boy like forgotten luggage.

The NZ Government has the same attitude. It is currently lodging a second appeal against the Human Rights Tribunal decision that the Ministry of Health is breaching the Human Rights Act by not resourcing families to support their disabled children; as well as prosecuting parents who received funding from MoH contracted providers.

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It takes one to know one

Posted by Philip on 21 February 2012, 7:33 pm in , ,

I get a lot of people telling me how wonderful, amazing, inspirational, etc, etc, they think I am. To be honest, it gets a bit tedious and it's difficult to respond to such compliments, because they are often unnecessary.

Mostly, I'm just out doing unadmirable, uninspiring stuff, like having lunch.

Over the years I've developed a standard response: "Thanks, it takes one to know one." It graciously returns the compliment and, unless the person is a complete neanderthal, they get the wit and, usually, any disability-related tension is dispelled.

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Peters' charitable response problematic

Posted by Philip on 14 February 2012, 6:09 pm in , , , ,

On the face of it, Winston Peter's offer of $6000 towards meeting MP Mojo Mathers' access needs, which was today refused by Parliamentary Services via Speaker Lockwood Smith, seems decent. Peters has also challenged other parties to match his offer.

But this charitable handout goes to the heart of a huge problem in NZ and other countries. The "special" needs of people to access communication, services, housing and equipment are too often seen to reside in the realm of goodwill and sympathy, rather than rights and empathy.

We are no longer hidden away in institutions, economically inviable and unproductive. We are living in communities, contributing to the economy and higher in productivity than others in many cases. We therefore have the right and responsibility to be equitably resourced, not given guilty compensation.

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From sympathy to empathy – understanding disability

Posted by Philip on 2 February 2012, 5:48 pm in , , , ,

I'm currently reading a very interesting book — "I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn't): Telling the Truth About Perfectionism, Inadequacy, and Power", by TEDster Brene Brown. The book's core themes are the causes and connections between shame, courage, empathy and compassion.

One of the sub-themes Brown talks about is the difference between empathy (understanding) and sympathy (pity). Instantly I got thinking about the astounding amount of sympathy or pity people display about the experience of disability.

Brown says sympathy conveys the idea that you could not possibly understand someone's experience, while also implying that you are glad you cannot. "In most cases, when we give sympathy we do not reach across to understand the world as others see it," she writes. "Inherent in sympathy is, 'I don't understand your world, but from this view things look pretty bad.'"

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Anything you say may be used against you...

Posted by Philip on 1 February 2012, 6:00 am in , , ,

...in a court of law.

What an embarrassing mantra for a civil society, where one is supposedly innocent until proven guilty.

I know a parent being prosecuted for theft of Government funding approved for their significantly disabled child, and I read of grandparents being denied money to care for their grandchildren.

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Kicking off a new innovation in disability support

Posted by Philip on 13 January 2012, 1:10 pm in , ,

{ Safe and sound } is an idea for a new, multi-faceted service designed for people managing their own disability support through the Ministry of Health Individualised Funding scheme or ACC direct payments.

People opting into this method of support do so because they are looking for customised support to fit their lifestyle, which current home-based support services struggle to provide. However, it does involve the responsibility of employing one or more people.

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Happy New Year and I'm not doing anything I don't want to do

Posted by Philip on 10 January 2012, 8:21 pm in , , , , , , ,

Hello, it's 2012 - hope you had a great break. So, are you ready for change?

Not cataclysmic, apocalyptic, chronomatic, revelational change.

I mean subtle, gentle, influential and revolutionary change. Like this:

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Diversity dilemma - function (aka disability)

Posted by Philip on 7 December 2011, 7:28 am in , , , ,

Disability awareness is slowly becoming more commonplace in workplaces around New Zealand, though it hasn't really taken off like other diversity issues. You find it sometimes in community organisations, particularly disability service providers, and some Government agencies.

In most cases the corporate world asks, "What does disability have to do with us?" 

So here's the dilemma: Awareness of disability is a red herring. Everyone is aware on some level that what we call "disability" exists in some people (medical model). Some are even aware that "disability" can be seen as a social construct of environmental, attitudinal and policy barriers that exclude 20% of society (social model).

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Miracle babies, ordinary lives: not good enough

Posted by Philip on 6 September 2011, 7:02 am in , , , ,

I've just watched this episode on Attitude, NZ's "disability" series, on the impact of prematurity on babies and their lives growing up.

As a premature baby myself, what frustrates me about this issue is the lack of the following conversation, which the episode sorely lacked. If society continues to invest millions and billions worldwide into medical research that enables babies to be resucitated after birth at less than two-thirds gestation — to create "miracle babies" — what is its responsibility to invest similarly, if not more greatly, in supporting us and our families to live "miracle lives"?

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Jumping for disability arts

Posted by Philip on 2 July 2011, 11:11 am in , , , ,

I promoted Giant Leap, NZ's first international disability arts festival in 2005, by jumping of Auckland's harbour bridge. And I did it live to air on TVNZ's Breakfast show, talking to later-to-become controversial host, Paul Henry. Followed by interview with US humourist David Roche.


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