Undertaking my Masters of Human Rights I scrutinize the rights of children with a disability and how they are contextualized in our society. Even though we have Acts and Conventions in place, we have little to uphold them. Instuitions, schools and community groups continue to turn children with additional needs away even though it is their right to have an equal opportunity.
My advocacy for Hugo has been infinite; the endless paperwork for extra funding and countless meetings for reports to make adequate adjustments. Although he accesses a mainstream schooling environment, I find myself working with the school to navigate the ways he can be included as the notion of inclusion conjures different ideas for everyone.
Other challenges are in socializing outside school and connecting with others. The need for a social attitudinal change towards people with a disability is paramount. I am hopeful that the NDIS will help in manifesting a societal shift and the general population’s perceptions are altered.
The NDIS is allowing us to access mainstream activities like soccer with support for Hugo. This gives him the opportunity to have a greater understanding of the complexities of the game but also to connect socially with others in meaningful and appropriate ways. Similarly with swimming and horse riding, activities where he can make friendships and participate in our community.
Diminishing the stigmatization around disabilities is most important. If Hugo and I can make one individual see a person with a disability as a valued member in their community I feel I am doing my job and taking the steps in right direction for a better and more humane world.