Shorts – DisabilityCare Australia – The end of the NDIS road for the deaf?


I was following some disability related discussions on Facebook today. One of these discussions related to accessible tourism. The post had a link to an article that was related to a meeting held in Canberra to discuss inclusive tourism. In the article was the mandatory photograph of a person with a wheelchair. (In fact there were two.)

Now I am not writing this to have a dig at people in wheelchairs, far from it. Rather I write this to try and highlight the narrowness of much of the policy drift in regard to people with a disability. I asked the author of the post whether it would have been worthwhile to have greater discussion in relation to accessible information and accessible events as they relate to tourism, particularly for people who are vision impaired or deaf.  His response was surprisingly supportive;

“…I absolutely agree, and by far it is the biggest disability group and the one most affected by the ageing population and the one that is most likely to be influential as consumers. We are preoccupied with physical access in this country instead of the big picture including the so called invisible disabilities.”

I was appreciative of this frank answer because a lot of the work my friend does is in relation to physical access so for him to come out and say this was refreshing. The next post I read was in relation to the NDIS.

This post was the Government waxing lyrical about the NDIS online forums and encouraging people to have their say. I found this ironic because the last big say people with a disability had about this on the forum related to their dissatisfaction with the name DisabilityCare Australia. It clearly had no impact because they were using the name proudly. In fact one might even say they were flaunting it.

More to the point – What exactly does this new name say about our Governments intent. The use of the word CARE in the name suggests that the NDIS will be about two things:

  • Being concerned for ..
  • Being under the care of ..

I use these terms loosely. They have been paraphrased from various online definitions. But it suggests that there is a power imbalance and that the NDIS will be about looking after and caring for people with a disability. This is what has upset many people with a disability because it is a negative and disempowering message.

About.Com has a page on marketing. Interestingly they had this to say about marketing. They say marketing… ” is not about getting your target market to choose you over the competition, but it is about getting your prospects to see you as the only one that provides a solution to their problem.”

So with a name like DisabilityCare it suggests that the problem is about CARE. Now what if you are deaf? Or blind? Or have a learning disability like Dyslexia? What if your solutions are about technology to empower and provide independence and facilitate inclusion? What if your issues are access to print and communication? Well CARE clearly is not going to offer any solutions is it?

So the question we need to ask is – Does the name DisabilityCare Australia spell the end of the road for the deaf and even the blind as far as the NDIS goes? Has the Government shown its hand and let us all know in a none to subtle way that the NDIS will have nothing to offer us? Think about it!

What’s in a name? It could be more than you think. Remain diligent!

SHORTS is a new feature of The Rebuttal. Short sharp articles to make the reader think. We hope you enjoy!

One thought on “Shorts – DisabilityCare Australia – The end of the NDIS road for the deaf?

  1. Hi Gary.

    I went to a local NDIS forum in Ballina during the week and it was attended by NDS, Janelle Saffin (our local Federal Labor MP) and the new Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers (Amanda Rishworth).

    I specifically asked whether people who are Deaf or have a hearing loss will receive any assistance under the NDIS and I received what I thought was a very vague answer from Amanda that it would basically depend on the new concept of functional limitations, etc.

    In short, I was none the wiser on exactly how the NDIS would assist people with a hearing loss and it was very obvious from the forum that it is heavily geared towards assisting people with obvious and more apparent disabilities rather than hidden disabilities (such as hearing loss).

    I must getting around to emailing Janelle and Amanda with some additional thoughts from a hearing loss perspective as it is so important for us to get this right for the upcoming NDIS DisabilityCare trials.

    Cheers for now,

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