Did you know as many as one in five Queenslanders has a disability? Every day, some face barriers to participating in their own community.
Everyone has a role to play in creating a more inclusive Queensland, whether as an individual, through business or as a member of a community group.
Some tips for community organisations
- Check the access to your building – is there a clear path to the entry? Is the door and hallway wide enough for a wheelchair? Is there enough circulation space in waiting rooms for a person using a mobility aid to easily turn around?
- Ensure there is an accessible toilet in your building.
- Before you advertise a position, check the job description – does it really reflect the essential requirements of the role? Could there be some flexibility in some of the requirements?
- Provide information about your service in multiple formats. For instance, in accessible formats online and in Easy English versions in print, as well as multiple languages.
- Make staff aware of how to respectfully ask if a person may need extra assistance.
- Develop a disability action plan to identify opportunities to employ people with disability and improve accessibility over time.
- Work with your management committee or board to gain commitment to inclusion.
Some tips for individuals
- Treat people with disability with the same respect you have for everyone else.
- Don’t make assumptions about what a person can or can’t do.
- Focus on the person, not the disability and don’t bring it up unless relevant.
- Speak to people with disability directly, not through their carer or interpreter (if they have one).
- Don’t talk down to a person with disability. Ask a person using a wheelchair if they would like help – for example, ask where they would like to sit, before you start moving furniture.
- Can’t understand what’s being said? Don’t pretend – ask again.
Everyone benefits when communities are more welcoming, inclusive and accessible.
Promoting positive attitudes towards disability and recognising the abilities of all Queenslanders are the first steps towards this.
The more informed we all are, the more we can do to create truly inclusive communities.
Disability Action Week will be held from 9 to 15 September 2018 with the theme ‘An all abilities Queensland: everybody has a role to play’.
Disability Action Week is held annually in September with the aim of empowering people with disability, raising awareness of disability issues, and improving access and inclusion throughout the wider community.
With thanks and acknowledgment to Louise Mullins, Queensland Council of Social Service for the full detail of this article