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Analysis and Comment (51)

For sighted users, a website looks no different whether it is accessible or not, but users with visual disabilities know all too soon when they are unable to use it. Coles home page screenshot

Oh the irony! Retailers blind to discrimination and lost business

A blind woman has launched a claim of unlawful discrimination against Coles and its online website. For those of us who are totally blind and working in the disability law space this lawsuit is no surprise…
The Dreamhouse launches tonight on ABC1. Artemis Films

Living with intellectual disability in The Dreamhouse

“I’m not a mummy’s boy any more!” proclaims Justin. “You never were!”, counters his mother Margaret. Justin, aged 32, is leaving home for the first time. He has Down syndrome and he and two others who…
Current funding criteria count against the ParaRoos and other athletes with disability who are represented by mainstream sports bodies. ParaRoos

In picking winners, sport funding rules can fail people with disabilities

The Australian Sports Commission has announced the funding of national sport organisations and individual sports for 2014-15. Overall Olympic funding enjoyed an increase of about A$750,000. Paralympic…
Media representation of people with a disability is often embedded within familiar models of “tragedy” and “hero”. Jonathan Kos-Read

Ramp Up’s shut-down robs us of a needed voice on disability issues

The headlines said it all. Back to work: Disability support pension on the scrapheap, screamed Melbourne’s Herald Sun. Beating the bludgers will help the disabled was the lead on The Sunday Telegraph…
The route to paid employment can start with working for a not-for-profit organisation. Image sourced from shutterstock.com

Rethinking career support for workers with disability

Australia’s record for employing people with a disability is disappointing and has been going backwards in recent years. In this country a little over half – 53% – of working-age disabled people are employed…
Back to Back Theatre’s award-winning Ganesh versus the Third Reich opens at Carriageworks this week. Jeff Busby/Carriageworks

How Back to Back challenges the way we see actors with disabilities

This week, Back to Back Theatre’s 2012 production Ganesh versus the Third Reich will open at Sydney’s Carriageworks. The show has toured the world, winning awards and laudatory reviews in Montreal, Paris…
Too few Australian bushfire preparedness plans consider people with disabilities. Giant Gingko/Flickr

Bushfire planning leaves behind people with disabilities

When bushfires start, no one should be more worried than people with disabilities. Recent research shows people with disabilities are twice as likely to die or be injured than the general population during…
People living in the remote communities face system failures in health care, disability services, housing and infrastructure. Flickr/publik

Why Indigenous Australians need a properly funded NDIS

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) presents an overwhelming opportunity to revolutionise the care and support given to Indigenous people. But the equity of the scheme is already at risk, with…
An innovative approach to mobility in Uganda. The Advocacy Project

Disabled people in Africa have been marginalised for too long

Disabled people are severely marginalised and among the poorest in developing countries. Having a disability increases the risk of poverty, and being poor also increases the risk of getting a disability…
Death and dying is often a taboo topic for people with disability, but shouldn’t be ignored. Image from shutterstock.com

Living with disability – and planning a good death

Australians have a poor track record of talking about death and dying. A recent survey of Australians who’d just lost a loved one to a terminal illness found just 15% were told how their relative wanted…
The majority of diagnoses for depression, anxiety and PTSD are made by GPs who don’t use the DSM criteria.

DSM-5 won’t increase mental health work claims – here’s why

The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-5) has copped the predicted criticisms since its release on the weekend. Most centre on the idea that more of us will…
The integrity of the scheme relies on listening to the people whose lives are affected by disability. Image from shutterstock.com

DisabilityCare now a reality but how can we protect its future?

Legend has it that before the introduction of Medibank (now Medicare) in 1974, then-prime minister Gough Whitlam convinced the premiers at a Commonwealth-states meeting to introduce a national disability…
The rollout of the NDIS will place considerable pressure on the disability workforce. But are 457 visas the answer? AAP

Reliance on 457 visas blunts the vision of the NDIS

With the legislation now through both houses of parliament, The National Disability Insurance Scheme, or DisabilityCare, is law, and will quickly become a defining feature of Australia’s social policy…
Certainty of funding is important and that’s why an income tax levy or premium is the way to go. Image from shutterstock.com

Increasing income tax the right choice for a sustainable NDIS

While an income tax increase may be hard to sell to some people in the community in the lead-up to a federal election, it’s the right choice for a sustainable National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS…
When humans are challenged, even as very young babies, we really can rise above and excel. Drew Bennett

Deprivation, autism and disability shine a light on development

What do newborn babies, children who have been severely deprived of human contact, people with autism, and blind mothers have in common? On the surface, not much. But they provide a common theme for understanding…
The broad economics of the scheme and the fine details of its implementation remain unclear. Image from shutterstock.com

We have an NDIS but what does this mean for disability care?

While the Labor party’s misguided leadership coup hogged the limelight last Thursday, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Bill passed through parliament. The government also announced the name…
How will the NDIS support life-long planning for Australians with disability as they grow older? Image from shutterstock.com

NDIS for under 65s: ageism or a battle over priorities?

Last week’s protest by several quadriplegic Queenslanders against age discrimination prompts us to examine how the National Disability Insurance Scheme should balance needs-based eligibility and entitlement…
Greater numbers of troubled teens are being abandoned by their parents and into the hands of the government. Shutterstock

The hardest choice: families who give up disabled children

The theme of abandonment runs like a current through our most pressing national dilemmas. Asylum seekers abandon their home countries in the hope of a better life in Australia. Newly elected governments…
The Australian Steelers celebrate a gold medal after beating Canada in the men’s wheelchair rugby final. Kerim Okten/EPA

Beyond the Paralympics: where to for disability sport in Australia?

As the bright lights of the London 2012 Paralympic Games begin to dim, and as the media focus diverts back to everyday life, we’re left with a pertinent question: where to now for disability sport in Australia…
The links between the military and disability sport are being cast anew. Corporal Jamie Osborne, Department of Defence

The military and the modern Paralympic movement

In the past five or six years there has been a marked increase in the overt use of disability sport in the rehabilitation of soldiers injured in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – which, in a sense, is…
The myths of disability are giving way to a new sense of normal. Daniel Karmann/EPA

Paralympics opening ceremony – a tour de force for humanity

The Opening Ceremony of the 2012 London Paralympics was nothing short of a tour de force. But as a new “enlightenment” (the theme for the ceremony), it also raised as many questions about disability as…
Are individuals disabled by a society that doesn’t accommodate difference? philippe leroyer

Disabled by society: Paralympians face challenges beyond the field

Australians love a good sports story about a hero overcoming adversity. Track cyclist Anna Meares’ gold medal in London was all the more impressive given her recovery from a life-threatening neck injury…
Young people in nursing homes aren’t free to eat, socialise and go out when they like. morberg

Young people in nursing homes denied basic human rights

Research published this week confirms what disability advocates have long known: that young people shouldn’t be forced to live in nursing homes. Our joint Summer Foundation and Monash University study…
Many people with disabilities feel isolated in community residential settings. Flickr/T.R.G.

NDIS: a step out of the dark

Early on in my career I was part of the process of closing down large-scale institutions for people with disabilities. My first experience of institutions was as a student. I visited Swanbourne Hospital…
A woman drinks using a robotic arm, something she hasn’t been able to do with her own arms for 15 years. Nature

Brain-controlled robotic arm toasts success with a drink

The world of brain-machine interfacing (BMI) has a new posterchild. A study on people with tetraplegia, published in Nature, has shown participants were able to control a robotic arm and hand over a broad…
More than 600 young Australians with disabilities currently live in nursing homes.

It’s time to get young people out of nursing homes

Michelle Newland was 19 years old when she had a severe asthma attack that left her with hypoxic brain injury. After eight weeks, the hospital staff told Michelle’s parents that she was not suitable for…
Caring for a disabled child currenlty requires battle after battle for basic equipment and services. bellisg

The NDIS is worth the investment – here’s why

The government has announced its commitment to the introduction of a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), with money to be set aside in next week’s federal budget for a 2013 start-up in four locations…
NDIS Rally in Adelaide, Monday 30th April. Despite the praise of the NDIS, the scheme falls short in some areas. AAP

Proposed disability insurance scheme fails the most vulnerable

On paper, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) proposed by the Productivity Commission looks like a great idea. Through Commonwealth funding, it would provide specialist accommodation, transport…
Intellectually disabled children who undergo the “Ashley procedure” are stunted to prevent the onset of puberty. flickr/visions by vicky

Ashley’s treatment: the arrested development of a disabled child

A growing number of parents are seeking the “Ashley Treatment,” a highly experimental medical intervention designed to arrest the physical and sexual development of severely disabled children. This invasive…
Many extremely premature babies will have lifelong physical and intellectual deficiencies. kqedquest

Balancing hope and fear for babies born at 24 weeks gestation

Imagine how frightening it must be for a woman to go into labour when she is just over halfway through her pregnancy and her baby has only had 23 or 24 weeks to grow. She and her family are overcome with…
Government data shows Aboriginal people are twice as likely to have a core activity limitation as non-Aboriginal people. AAP Image/Karen Michelmore

Changes needed to close the gap for Indigenous Australians with disabilities

Alongside high rates of incarceration, unemployment, homelessness and some of the poorest health outcomes in Australia, Indigenous people’s access and use of disability services is under-representative…
Family members shouldn’t be pressured to take on the caring responsibilities of relatives.

Should we care? Why many carers have no choice

Increasingly, governments rely on family carers to provide aged and disability care services. For many, family care is a demonstration of love and duty, but often there is little choice. The word carer…
NRL player Craig Wing has a sister with Down Syndrome. AAP

How come you don’t want one? Living with Down Syndrome

“Fuck you, Wing, your sister has Down syndrome!” These words were once hurled at NSW rugby league star Craig Wing while he was playing for the Sydney Roosters against the Canterbury Bulldogs at the Sydney…
If health and water reform are anything to go by, COAG is in for a challenge.

The rocky road to a national disability insurance scheme

The stakes are high for today’s Council of Australian Government (COAG) meeting in Canberra, as it decides how to respond to the Productivity Commission’s report into disability care and support in Australia…

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