What is it about?

The rollercoaster adventures of parenting three kids, dealing with disability and mental health - and discussing disability discrimination and how to tackle it.

Thursday, 14 February 2008


I’ve made no secret of the fact that I greatly applaud the apology made to the Stolen Generation.

I know not everyone agrees with this. There have been many discussions around the apology, people of all walks of life have been heard speaking and thinking about it. The discussion has even popped up on some online forums I belong to. Tania, a mother of a child with cerebral palsy got me thinking with a thought-provoking email, written from her heart. Let me quote her eloquent words:

“What about the disabled children who grew up in institutions (especially in the 60's during the thalidomide era)? Have they been able to seek compensation? Does anyone care about what they went through? Has anyone said sorry to them?”

Fair point.

There is a historical wrong to right here too. The time for a new beginning here, too. With adequate funding for therapy and services. Funding for education. Healthcare. Employment. And a change in attitude.

Amazing, really, how remarkable close the experiences of Aboriginal peoples and people living with a disability.

This link off course has a long history. Fiona, another mother of a child with CP, put it nicely when, she pointed out the Nazis not only targeted Jewish people, they also destroyed Gypsies because of the colour of their skin, homosexuals, and people with disabilities- anyone in short who didn't fit or look like their desired profile, their standard of “normality”.

Fiona has faced a long battle to ensuring her child gets the supports he needs to be educated at his mainstream school. She has a way with words, and I can only do justice to Fiona’s point by quoting her fully:

“I too increasingly think about life in terms of diversity and notice how the people who help [my son] in various ways instinctively value diversity. I understand too perceptions of the apparent unfairness of singling out indigenous Australians for sorry and possible compensation when so many other people should also have their different problems acknowledged and addressed. So many of us – like many Aboriginals - hurt very much from the exclusion of our kids and the injustices they suffer.”
We have a long way to go to right the wrongs of the past, and improve the living conditions for Aboriginal Australians and disabled Australians alike. Our national leaders had their moment yesterday. As of today, the floor is ours again!

For those of us up to the challenge, here are some starting points:

Family Advocacy
Physical Disability Council of NSW
People with Disability
Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission
Association for Children with a Disability
Carers Alliance

And you can post your experiences and opinions on:
What carers need wiki
Equal not Special blog

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