The prevalence of disability amongst Aboriginal and Torres Islanders is significantly higher than in the general population. A new documentary film aims to increase awareness in Indigenous communities to recognise disability and help Indigenous people with disabilities to feel empowered.
Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people do not recognise disability or identify as disabled. So, it is important that the implementation of the NDIS in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is led by Aboriginal people.
This is a new conversation in many Aboriginal communities so we need to plan for the long-term to ensure the opportunities are realised and that all people with disability are empowered to participate in a truly inclusive society.
At the moment most Aboriginal people with disabilities remain at the periphery of the disability service system. This happens for a number of different reasons, but one factor that remains little understood is the reluctance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disabilities to identify as people with disability.
This week, I was proud to participate in the launch of Living My Way, a short documentary that features the stories of five Indigenous people with disability, their community, their goals, challenges and achievements - how they live 'their way'. I was happy to take part in this film and share my story.
It was a great experience. The film crew focused on showcasing my ability within disability in both my work and home life, but also most importantly the ripple effects with my wife Amy and how she deals with the situation.
The NDIS presents an opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disabilities to substantially engage, for the first time for many, with the disability service system.
The film provides a positive and accessible message for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability, their families and communities. The Aboriginal Disability Network NSW has begun showing the documentary to Aboriginal people who might usually say that they don't have people with disability in their community. After they see it, it should hopefully resonate so they might talk about a family member or friend who needs a bit of help and support. So, this film is a great tool to open the conversation that we need to be having, which as I've said is pretty new in many communities.
Living My Way means living with dignity, respect, choices, appropriate support and care, and with flexibility, guidance, adventure and joy. This documentary tells the stories of our lives. It invites the viewer into our lives as people living our way, with disability, but not defined by our disability. This is the message that I hope our audience will be left with.
The First Peoples Disability Network Australia and Aboriginal Disability Network NSW have devised a comprehensive 10-point-plan for the implementation of the NDIS in Aboriginal communities, based on its work across the country in advocating for the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians with disability and extensive community consultation. The 10 point plan can be viewed here.
Jake Briggs is Chairman of the Aboriginal Disability Network NSW and works in the construction industry. He became a quadriplegic after a diving accident.
Read more http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&ct2=au&usg=AFQjCNEYf3V3uFuYPIa6c7iYme1vujxx-w&clid=c3a7d30bb8a4878e06b80cf16b898331&cid=43982374632585&ei=Os9tU_i8MoiH8gGU4AE&url=http://www.abc.net.au/rampup/articles/2014/04/11/3982747.htm