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Disability, Cultural Diversity in the Glorious New Age of the NDIS Professor Emeritus Edmond Chiu A.M. University of Melbourne.

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Presentation on theme: "Disability, Cultural Diversity in the Glorious New Age of the NDIS Professor Emeritus Edmond Chiu A.M. University of Melbourne."— Presentation transcript:

1 Disability, Cultural Diversity in the Glorious New Age of the NDIS Professor Emeritus Edmond Chiu A.M. University of Melbourne

2 What is Disability? An evolving concept resulting from the interaction between persons with impairments and the attitudinal and socio-environmental factors that may impede their full and effective participation in society on an equal footing with others. Disability is always in a social (cultural) context. The term “disability” is an umbrella concept that encompasses impairments, activity restrictions, and participation restrictions. United Nation Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities WHO and the World Bank. World Report on Disability 2011.

3 Culture Anthropological – pattern of life within a community; organised systems of ideas, knowledge, and beliefs that allow a group to structure its experiences and choose among alternatives. Biologically - culture has its psychobiological correlates in the organisation of the mind-brain with consequent formation of neural networks that “enculturate” each individual with language, religion, behaviour and ethical value systems.

4 Ethnicity While Culture refers to the behaviour and value systems, ETHNICITY refer to a group of people that shares a common culture.

5 CALD vs NESB Cultural and Linguistic Diversity is an all inclusive term for ALL Australians (English speaking ‘Anglos’ included). Non English Speaking Background refer more specifically and accurately to those whose first language is not English and who may not be adequately fluent in English. They have secondarily associated differing cultural and social backgrounds.

6 History of Recent Migration into Australia Pre-WWII Mostly from UK, a few from Europe. White Australia Policy excluded non- white immigration.

7 Immediate Pre-WWII Early “refugees” escaping the impending conflicts in Europe and Nazi persecution. More likely to be physically robust but may be psychologically compromised.

8 Immediate Post-WWII Displaced Persons (D.P. or “refos”) who have survived the War, seeking political and economic stability and safely. Mostly were young, “fit”, well motivated and resilient survivors.

9 Immediately Post WWII Some with minor (often hidden) physical disabilities but all with psychological scars from WWII. They worked hard and suffered in silence to make a better life for their families.

10 Abolition of the White Australia Policy More from Asia. Non-discriminatory (Followed by Family Re-union, bringing elderly parents.) Skilled migrants assessed on “points” Post Vietnam war In addition to the Vietnamese, other refugees (Asylum Seekers). To be followed by their other family members.

11 Family Reunion – Arrive in Australia in later life to join their families in Australia. Less able to adapt to Australian ways. Less able to learn English if not already fluent. “Deaf, blind and dumb.” More likely to be isolated. Disabled likely to be excluded, but developed disability after arrival. (Note possible change of policy to “Net Benefits”)

12 Skilled Migrants – Linguistically fluent. Well educated and financially established. Well connected. knowledgeable and “knows way around the system”. Financially and socially independent, but may be compromised by recent onset disability.

13 A Migrant’s Journey through disability Migration Settlement Successful - lauded (culture, history, demands Partly successful –?? expectations, Non success - Shame, +/- disability) guilt, fear, exclusion

14 Disability after migration If pre-existing – External fears – deportation, exclusion from benefits. If recent onset- Internal – shame loss of face what did I do wrong? Letting the family down Destroy expectation of better future Victimhood Projection – others fault entitlement as a “defence”

15 Meaning of disability How would I APPEAR and relate to – My nuclear family My extended family My ethnic community The general community Government /Agencies ie. What does this mean to me and to them?

16 Cognitive Dissonance When our previously established and well held beliefs, perceptions and behaviours are at odds (inconsistent) with new and conflicting beliefs; it creates a sense of unease, discomfort and internal emotional discord.

17 The Cognitive Dissonance The fundamental conflicts leading to C.D -Own Expectations vs. Reality -Society’s expectations of successful citizens -Family expectation of a better life. -Acceptance of the meaning of disability. (Organ and social values)

18 What of your own Cognitive Dissonance? Acknowledge the conflict between your own history, professional training, value systems (prejudices) and that of your clients. Note any bureaucratic inflexibility which enhances everyone’s conflicts and CD. As you represent the “authority” and the host country’s power, your “helping” role may be in conflict with this perception.

19 The New Age of the NDIS The National Disability INSURANCE Scheme – - What is it, really? - What does it MEAN to the NESB person? - How does this translate into their lives? - How acceptable, as a concept and in practice? - How “accessible” and available? - Are the “services” culturally appropriate?

20 Some Practical Issues for the NESB population Access – “the process whereby a person’s request for support from Disability Care Australia is considered”. Issues of language, understanding, form filling, geography. Managing and negotiating the bureaucratic maze. Psycho-social and cultural impacts of the “participant” status.

21 Other conceptual issues – clarifications needed Age exclusion at 65. Residency qualifications. Disability requirements – Impairment, permanence, functional capacity “support needs better provided/met by other service systems”.

22 The Invisible NESB persons with disability How relevant is the Barwon “trial” to the NESB persons with disability? Where is the consideration of the NESB persons with disability in – - NDIS documents - June 2013 Conference in which there was discussion on the Indigenous, children, Remote and rural people, women and girls. But no mention of the NESB persons.

23 Demography of the Barwon Region Language Spoken - Other than English LanguageGeelongSouth BarwonWest Barwon Italian Croatian Greek German Macedonian Mandarin Dutch Serbian Australian Census Top responses recorded

24 Not withstanding the introduction of the NDIS with all its media hype and high expectation, those working in the front line of care should continue to work with the NESB persons with disability with an empathetic and practical approach, recognising that there are certain cognitive dissonances requiring attention.

25 Suggested Strategies for the front-line Listen to and understand each migrant’s personal and culture specific story and expectations. Explore the conflictual beliefs, expectations and the related emotions resulting from their disability. Modulate the values/impacts of these “conflicts”. Optimise and support the belief(s) and actions that would lead to a positive outcome. There is no “right” answers. Only what is most useful at a particular stage of each journey. This does change over time.

26 RESILIENCE Always remind yourself that the NESB person, whether fully able or impaired, is tougher and more resilient than you think. They have survived all these years before arrival and life in Australia. Acknowledge, enhance and utilise this resilience for their better physical and mental health! Such a resilience can be examplers to others and future generations to benefit Australia. Ensure the much hyped NDIS does not inadvertantly create a new victimhood as an unintended consequence.


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