Sunday, November 19, 2017
Text Size

Advocacy for Inclusion Blog

Welcome to the Advocacy for Inclusion Blog!
Subscribe to this blog for updates, position statements and news relating to disability, the sector and interrelating issues

ACT BUDGET ANALYSIS 2015-16: Infastructure Saves the Day for Disability

Advocacy for Inclusion is impressed by some significant infrastructure commitments in ACT Budget 2015-16 which save the day for disability spending overall. Without these initiatives this budget would be very disappointing.


While the Chief Minister has made a commitment to advancing social inclusion and equality, specific initiatives for people with disabilities are scarce. In particular, the ACT Government continues its support for non-human rights compliant disability service models, which will hinder real inclusion of people with disabilities in the community, and can be phased out with the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.


Positive initiatives:


1.    Redevelopment of the Supreme Court will improve access to justice for people with disabilities. This will ensure that people with disabilities can finally participate across all areas of the justice system, including jury service.

2.    Enhanced Legal Aid Services for people who cannot afford private legal representation.

3.    Extra resources to support more students with disabilities, including in the classroom and transport to public schools.

4.    Major renewal of public housing, which will mean better accessibility for people with disabilities who are the single largest tenancy group.

5.    Funding attached to the Out of Home Care Strategy “A Step Up for our Kids”, which has real potential to benefit parents and children with disabilities.

6.    Establishment of the lifetime care and support scheme for survivors of motor vehicle accidents.

7.    Disability services indexation for the NDIS transition.


Key concerns:


1.    Continued institutionalisation – new respite facility


A further $1.6 million is committed to a congregate respite facility for young people, a model which will continue the legacy of social exclusion for people with disabilities. This is a backward step for the human rights of people with disabilities, and repeats the mistake made in last year’s budget. The NDIS will enable innovative and inclusive respite programs to evolve for families and children. Funding should have been redirected to support families to explore these new opportunities, and toward other more progressive disability supports.


2.    No specific money for women with disabilities experiencing domestic violence


There are no targeted initiatives or extra funding for women with disabilities who are trapped in violent relationships. This is a key target group for both ACT and national plans to address violence against women. It is deeply disappointing to see no commitment to expand or develop the Crisis Service Scheme, which is a promising yet very small initiative from last year’s budget.


3.    Ninety per cent of people with disabilities still left in the lurch


The NDIS is on the ACT’s doorstep yet there is no clear funding or structural reforms to cover the people who won’t receive individual packages. There is more than $20 million to support agencies to transition and restructure for the NDIS, yet people with disabilities who do not receive individualised packages still have no idea about what community supports will be available to replace the existing system.


4.    Uncertainty about funding for independent disability advocacy


The demand for independent disability advocacy has increased dramatically with the roll out of the NDIS alongside the population increase of people with disabilities. Yet, uncertainty about the availability of advocacy continues, with no clear commitments in this Budget. Independent disability advocacy is critical in supporting people with disabilities to achieve good outcomes as NDIS recipients and to address issues of inequality and discrimination in the community. It is essential in shaping an efficient, effective and quality NDIS service system.



At a time of fiscal challenge Advocacy for Inclusion welcomes some solid physical infrastructure measures. We now look forward to collaborating on the development of programs that will mean real social inclusion and equality for people with disabilities.


Continue reading
4181 Hits

Submission to the NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Framework Consultation

The government recently undertook community consultation on a quality and safeguards framework for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). In our submission, we highlighted powerlessness as the biggest risk to the wellbeing and safety of people with disabilities in their support arrangements.

In a context where people with disabilities face extreme socioeconomic and political inequalities, they are at heightened risk of power abuses and victimisation. As noted in the consultation paper, people with disabilities have traditionally had very little market power, and they are often unable to speak up or make complaints for fear of repercussions. The NDIS provides a framework for increased control and choice. However, a significant amount of support and work is needed to ensure that this translates to practice in the new system.


Control and choice cannot be achieved through regulating people with disabilities with paternalistic and controlling policies and structures. A quality and safeguarding framework should be focused on enhancing meaningful and tangible support for people with disabilities to exercise self-determination, coupled with robust accountability, transparency and monitoring systems for service providers.


In our submission we recommended:


1.    Increase funding to all six forms of independent community based disability advocacy to meet demand, which will continue to increase with the roll out of the NDIS, to support people with disabilities to navigate and be heard in this new system;

2.    Establish an independent complaints body for all NDIS and disability services;

3.    Establish a nationally consistent mandatory reporting system with a view to at eliminating restrictive practices;

4.    Meaningfully engage people with disabilities as designers and co-designers in all NDIS and disability related systems, to enable real self-determination for people with disabilities.

View our full submission here.

Continue reading
4206 Hits

Critique: Apps for victims of gender based violence

Recently, several apps have been released for victims of domestic and family violence, which seek to empower women by providing information and contacts. For example, Daisy launched last month by the Australian Government provides a list of specialist sexual assault, and domestic and family violence services in the woman’s local area.


Easy access to information and support contacts is vital. With the rise in technology, it’s logical and perhaps necessary to use these platforms to support victims. However, these apps are only useful to women who have access to technology, the skills to navigate this technology, and a level of literacy (specifically English literacy for the apps discussed here). This means that many of the most marginalised and isolated women who experience the highest rates of victimisation, such as women with disabilities and culturally and linguistically diverse women, will not benefit from such initiatives.


In a context where government funds are being cut to support services for victims of family/domestic violence, the practical use of these apps is questionable generally. While Daisy purports to “empower women experiencing gendered violence to access services for their own unique situation” it does not actually provide access to those services. Rather it simply lists the contacts for those services. This is only useful if the support services at the other end have the capacity to respond to women seeking their assistance. This gives the government the appearance of “doing something”, while women are turned away from services at full capacity, and their phone calls are ringing out.


Some of these apps use language around “empowering” women and “teaching” women to “be aware”. It’s based on the assumption that if women smartened up, or did something differently they wouldn’t find themselves with a violent partner, or they’d leave. We know that this is just not true and continues to place responsibility on women to change their thinking and their behaviour when it is the perpetrators, most often men, who need to behave differently.


The approach taken by iMatter, released this year by Doncare Community services, is particularly problematic in this regard. It is targeted at enabling young women “to be informed, forewarned and alert to dangerous behaviour and to learn how to achieve and maintain personal safety, both physical and psychological”.


The app uses quizzes to raise awareness of whether they or their friend might be in an abusive relationship. I took the “what are the warning signs” quiz twice using two different combinations to get different relationship scores. I ended up with “yay! You’re in a healthy relationship” score the first time and “there are some warning signs that there may be issues” score the second time. Here’s an example of one of the questions:


When my partner gets jealous they…


a)    Threaten to hurt themselves, me, my friends, pets or family, or makes me feel like no one would want me.

b)    Try to make me jealous back

c)    Let me know they’re feeling insecure.


The first issue with this is there are only three quite prescriptive options. For this question, a woman might select option “c” if her partner lets her know that they are feeling insecure even if done so in a disrespectful or potentially violent way, because the first two options might not resonate with her. This would presumably give points toward a “healthy relationship” score. Even if her partner hurts her, she might not immediately identify this as a “threat” as in option “a”. For example, if her partner verbally puts her down or restricts her movement, rather than punches, kicks or chokes, which are the stereotypical images often used in mainstream media. This is especially problematic for women of minority groups, such as women with disabilities, because violence can manifest in ways that are different to mainstream ideas of violence. For example, withholding a disability aid or support, and misusing medications.


What I found most disturbing is when I got the “there are some warning signs” score, it goes on to say “It is important that you address any issues with your partner. As a couple you should be able to meet each other’s needs and work together to make sure you are both happy”. Perpetrators of family or domestic violence often make excuses for their behaviour, and/or blame the victim. This can make it difficult for the victim to identify that their partner is doing the wrong thing. This language seems to reinforce that the victim is in some way responsible for her partner’s (potentially violent) behaviour, and that she needs to find a way to work together with her partner to sort this out.


For these reason, I think the iMatter quiz could have a detrimental impact on how a woman perceives her situation, how validated (or not) she feels about her concerns, and how entitled she feels to seek help. I’m unsure that a quiz is at all the right format to support a woman to consider these things.


Overall, the concept of an app as a tool for “empowerment” of victims of violence will likely help some women in some situations to get vital information and contacts. However, it doesn’t stand out as revolutionary or particularly helpful in the scheme of a culture where victim blaming is still prominent, and actual support services are under-resourced. Many of the most at risk women will not have access to these apps at all, and if they do, they need meaningful support to be available to them at the other end for it to be of any benefit.

Continue reading
5770 Hits

Self Advocacy Plus Group

Advocacy for Inclusion has been facilitating the Self-Advocacy Group for several years now . It is the only group of its kind running in the ACT.

Over this time, the group dynamics and group structure have changed as people have gotten to know each other and the skills of the self-advocates have developed.

With the Group Home project starting, the numbers of people attending the self-advocacy group are predicted to increase and we will have an ongoing diversity in self-advocacy skills.

With this in mind and at the request of several of our self-advocates we are starting The Self-Advocacy Plus group next month. This group will meet monthly.

The goal of the group is to increase skills and confidence with public speaking and developing leadership skills to assist in mentoring newer self-advocates.

 So how will this happen? To begin with we will be looking at powerpoint presentations. Each self advocate will be individually supported to prepare their own poweroint presenation on a topic of their choice. The presentation will involve a set format with questions for the self advocate to prepare slides for. Once the slide show has been put together we will be working on delivery of the presentation to the group. Once practised and the self advocate is comfortable, the presentation will be filmed. This will provide the self advocate with a record of their huge acheivement.




Continue reading
4789 Hits

Advocacy for Inclusion welcomes Guardianship review in the ACT

Guardianship Review in the ACT


Advocacy for Inclusion is pleased that the ACT government has asked the ACT Law Reform Advisory Committee (LRAC) to inquire into the practice of guardianship in the ACT. We have advocated for many years for such an inquiry and have been particularly concerned that Australia’s obligations under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities changes how we should view the use of substitute decision making (article 12 CRPD).


The inquiry has been asked to:


The Law Reform Advisory Council is asked to inquire into the terms and operation of the Guardianship and Management of Property Act 1991, to ensure that the Act reflects best practice in guardianship law relating to adults.


The review does not include consideration of guardianship of children which is primarily a parental responsibility.


In making any recommendations, the Council should have regard to the General Principles established in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities focusing on the principle of respect for individual autonomy and dignity of persons, which is reflected in supported decision making frameworks.


The review will include consideration of:

1. The impact of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and other international human rights instruments, on principles for guardianship and management of property in the ACT;

2. The Act’s consistency with other relevant ACT legislation, in particular the Human Rights Act 2004, the Mental Health (Treatment and Care) Act 1994; the Powers of Attorney Act 2006 and the Disability Services Act 1991; and

3. Current policy trends in the area of guardianship and substitute decision-making in the ACT.


The Council will report to the Attorney General on its findings by 30 September 2015.



Advocacy for Inclusion was proud to participate in the Australian Law Reform Commission’s (ALRC) Inquiry into equality before the law, by sitting on the Inquiry Advisory Body, and welcomes the references to its outcomes in the discussion paper by the ACT Law Reform Advisory Committee. It is particularly pleasing to note that the LRAC has referenced the ALRC’s proposed National Decision Making Framework which was developed in consultation with numerous stakeholders including the ALRC Inquiry Advisory Body.


We look forward to the forthcoming consultation process and encourage all stakeholders to participate, particularly people who have guardianship or financial management orders over them. Advocacy for Inclusion will be participating in this inquiry, and will be supporting our consumers and self-advocates to express their views.


This is a rare and welcome opportunity to reframe the rights of people with disabilities in the ACT and to contribute to greater independence of some of the most marginalised and isolated Canberrans.



References of interest:


1. Advocacy for Inclusion’s submission to the ALRC Inquiry into equality before the law


2. Advocacy for Inclusion’s report “Ask Me, I make my own decisions


3. Advocacy for Inclusion’s opening statement to the ACAT test case on a matter of law


4. Advocacy for Inclusion’s report on Supported Decision Making, Legal Capacity and Guardianship - Implementing Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the Australian Capital Territory




Continue reading
4575 Hits

More independent NDIS support needed up front

Today Advocacy for Inclusion has written to all former individual advocacy consumers offering our support for their NDIS preparations.


Several cases have come to our attention that we found quite disturbing:


-        A support service not notifying our advocate that an NDIS planning meeting was taking place and accompanying the consumer themselves to protect the service’s interests during the planning conversation

-        People with significant communication barriers being spoken for by service providers or carers and not being given the chance to outline their own choices

-        Highly isolated or marginalised people not being aware of the NDIS and being coerced to cede their planning process to others

-        People being asked to agree to commit to a service provider before their NDIS plan is finalised

-        Service providers making arrangements that ensure they will accompany a person to their NDIS planning, rather than another less conflicted third party

-        Service providers giving consumers a printed list of the services they currently use so that they can “tell the NDIS this is what you will need” before a planning process has even commenced

-        Service providers applying for guardianship orders for a person so that their inconvenient choices weren’t actioned

-        Service providers applying for guardianship orders for a person so that the process was faster, once again to support the business needs of the service rather than the person’s needs


These are just some of the situations we have become aware of in the first 9 months of the NDIS in Canberra. Every day we hear new stories. We are increasingly concerned that people with disabilities do not have the level of independent support, free from conflicting interests, that they have a right to. Many are unaware that this support is available.


So, we have written to all our former consumers to offer them independent advocacy to understand the NDIS, to pre-plan their NDIS, and to sit alongside them through their NDIS planning process. We have already been asked to assist in recovering a number of situations for people and we realised that this demand will grow if we don’t act now.


Through our Self-advocacy Program we also offer ongoing support so that people are able to speak up and make the NDIS work for them in the way that they want it to work.


We are not receiving any funding to undertake the work, but we consider it to be of such importance that we are going ahead regardless.



Continue reading
4919 Hits

The new ACT out of home care strategy - what might it mean for parents with disabilities?

The ACT Government launched a new out of home care strategy this January, called “A Step Up for Our Kids”, with an additional $16 million committed to the child protection system over the next 3 years. You can view the strategy here.


The strategy introduces some positive changes to the system, including new services and a focus on preventing children from entering out of home care by improving access to support for families to care for their children at home. Advocacy for Inclusion is particularly pleased to see the following in the Strategy:


·         Intensive in-home tailored supports aimed at keeping children at home with their families, and at successful reunification for those children who have been temporarily placed out of home;

·         Recognition of the significance of disability among children and parents in the child protection system;

·         Recognition of the role child protection services should play in linking children and parents with disabilities to the NDIS to ensure access to appropriate supports;

·         Recognition of the particular need for access to placement prevention services among parents with cognitive impairment involved in the child protection system.


These are extremely important steps towards developing a system that is responsive to the needs of parents and children with disability. Article 23 of the Convention on the rights of Persons with Disabilities outlines that people with disabilities have the right to access the support they need to parent. Historically these matters have been overlooked by child protection systems, resulting in dire consequences for children and parents.


However, Advocacy for Inclusion remains concerned about the new focus on early consideration of permanent placement in out of home care for children.


Australian and international studies indicate that parents with cognitive impairment in particular (including intellectual and psychosocial disabilities) are subject to very high rates of child protection interventions and child removal, with issues such as prejudice, discriminatory attitudes and a chronic lack of appropriate parenting supports being contributing factors.


In our experience, learning difficulties and unmet disability support needs can be mistaken by child protection workers for non-compliance or total inability to parent.


For these reasons, we are concerned that these parents are at particular risk of having their support needs overlooked or misunderstood, and consequently their children inappropriately placed in permanent out of home care.


We are especially concerned that the system does not yet understand the often ongoing nature of the support needs among some parents with disabilities, and that this could be misunderstood as the parent’s failure to improve within the expected timeframe. Assessment of parents with disabilities must consider whether parents are providing good enough care with adequate and appropriate support, which may or may not be required on an ongoing basis. The acknowledgement of the role of the NDIS is particularly significant in regards to provision of this ongoing support.


Overall, we hope that the acknowledgement of disability specific issues in the strategy will lead to improved awareness of and access to disability related supports for parents and children in the child protection system. However, we know that there is still a long road ahead for the child protection system, and the community broadly towards recognition and inclusion of people with disabilities as valued family participants.

Continue reading
6691 Hits

Self Advocacy Group - Peer Network Update

Welcome back from the Holidays. The New Year brings exciting news that this year we will again be running 2 weekly self-advocacy groups.

The self-advocacy groups are open to anyone with a disability who want to learn more about speaking up for themselves and making their own decisions. Meeting weekly, it gives you a chance to continue to develop the skills you learn, meet people and learn about issues that matter to you. The group is free to attend and a light afternoon tea provided.


Meeting times this year will be:

Wednesday 2pm – 4pm, Griffin Centre, Level 2, Room 9 (or otherwise advised)

         Commencing 21st January

Thursday 1pm-3pm Griffin Centre, Level 3, Canberra Men’s Centre meeting room (or otherwise advised)

   Commencing 19th February

Last year’s self-advocacy group  that was meeting on Thursdays will move to the Wednesday time.


I have been busy booking in guest speakers and planning meetings based on the feedback of what the group had discussed at the end of last year. We have some very interesting and exciting meetings coming up over the next few months. Guest speakers include; Andrew from Funny Works Oz, Guest speakers from the ACT Deafness Resource Centre and a dietician from Diabetes ACT plus many more. Also important is welcoming Andrew D, who will start in the role of volunteer co facilitator. Andrew has been a valued member of the Self advocate group for some time and is looking forward to using the skills he has learned and developed to assist others.


The Thursday group commencing 19th February – will start with “MY NDIS, My life, My Vision, My Say” a 5  week workshop on being ready for your first NDIS planning meeting. Self-advocates attending the workshop will be supplied with our “ My NDIS” preplanning kit.  This workshop was first run last year with great success.  

Examples of some of feedback we received from our self-advocate:  “When the NDIS came to talk to me there was nothing new. We had already talked about it here” and “ because we had talked about NDIS I understood all the words and what they were talking about”.  Evidence from trial sites has shown that the pre planning process is key to successful NDIS outcomes.


Self-advocates are welcome to attend either or both groups.





Continue reading
3859 Hits

Enhanced Self-Advocacy Group Project - Summary Report

Self-advocacy is central to the capacity for people with disabilities to achieve self-determination. It should be seen as a priority area for development as the NDIS is rolled out and as concepts around supported decision-making gain momentum locally. Advocacy for Inclusion established a Self-Advocacy Group for people with disabilities in November 2011. After significant improvements in attendance with increased resourcing (funded by the ACT NDIS Taskforce) from April until beginning August 2014, we decided to divert funds from the Self-Advocacy Courses we previously delivered toward the Self-Advocacy Group. This was to enable the Group momentum gained during the Enhanced Project to continue.

The Self-Advocacy Group is a cost efficient model for offering intensive and ongoing self-advocacy support to people with disabilities who are highly marginalised and/or have significant disability support needs. Its purpose is to nurture a space for people with disabilities to reinforce and continue to build self-advocacy skills via giving and receiving peer support, with the assistance of a qualified and experienced facilitator.There is an explicit focus on maximizing Self-Advocates’ control and ownership of the Group, which is central to facilitating concrete learning experiences for people with disabilities in exercising self-determination.

Important program features include the open, ongoing and flexible nature of the Group, which is embedded in the real life experiences of Self-Advocates, and is continuously tailored to suit their changing needs. These features made it more successful in engaging Self-Advocates than the more structured, pre-designed Self-Advocacy Courses that we previously delivered. Critically, with increased funding and resources during the Enhanced Project the Group was facilitated more frequently, enabling it to gain momentum. This was key to achieving familiarity and comfort levels among Self-Advocates, particularly new members, which in turn led to a much higher level of engagement and better outcomes for Self-Advocates.

Key self-reported Self-Advocacy Group outcomes include:

·         Increased confidence through altruism, feeling valued and a sense of social connectedness,

·         Improved skills in self-advocating (speaking up);

·         Better awareness of human rights;

·         Improved skills, knowledge and familiarity in navigating service systems (including the NDIS);

·         Clearer and more hopeful visions for the future and how to get those visions underway;

·         The development of facilitator skills among those Self-Advocates who were employed or volunteered for the position of co-facilitator, which is a major achievement for these individuals in terms of their employment aspirations and future employability.

Additionally, Advocacy for Inclusion observed Self-Advocates raising significant issues in their lives for the first time, which opened up the capacity for these issues to be addressed. We also observed a reduced need for the Individual Advocacy service among Self-Advocates who had previously accessed this service.

You can find the full report outlining the approach and outcomes of the Self-Advocacy Group here.

Continue reading
4362 Hits

AGM Wrap up

AGM Wrap up

On Tuesday 18 November 2014, Advocacy for Inclusion presented its al Annual General Meeting (AGM)

The AGMs official proceedings saw the re-appointment of the Board. We farewelled long-time serving Board member Jane  and welcomed Kathryn, one of our Self-advocates, to the Board.


The evening ended with presentations by our Self-advocates, about how Self-advocacy has helped them achieve their goals and ability to speak for themselves.

You can now read our report on Enhanced Self-advocacy here:


You can donate to help run our Self-advocacy program here:


Our financial statements and annual report are also available on our website here:


Continue reading
5347 Hits

Join us at our Annual General Meeting: 18 November 4:45- 6 PM

This has undoubtedly been the busiest year yet for the Advocacy for Inclusion team!

We invite you to come to our Annual General Meeting so we can share with you our work over the past year.

The AGM will include nominations to the Board and official proceedings then feature stories and milestones from our Self-advocates who have attend our Peer networking program.

When: 18 November 2014 from 4:45 – 6pm

Where: Room 6, Griffin Centre, 20 Genge St Canberra City 2601

*This room has a hearing Loop

We have achieved some impressive things with such a small team, limited resources, and funding. Please share this evening with us, RSVP by Monday 17 November by:


Calling: 02 6257 4005

Or registering online:






Continue reading
4587 Hits

If it’s not Self-advocacy call it something else

If it’s not Self-advocacy call it something else


The global self-advocacy movement is about people with cognitive disabilities speaking for themselves. It’s an important part of the disability rights movement and must be recognised as owned and designed by the people involved – people with cognitive disabilities.


Recently Australian governments at all levels have developed greater awareness of the language of the disability rights movement. This is positive and well overdue. It’s particularly pertinent in the context of the development and design of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and many of the buzz words recently adopted are as a result of bureaucrats engaging in NDIS work.


What is less well respected and understood is that this language belongs to the disability rights movement, not to governments, and it is not open to being reinterpreted by anyone other than the disability rights movement.


For the self-advocacy movement this is really important. People with cognitive disabilities are one of the most marginalised and isolated groups in our community. They are often the ones living in residential care / institutions, who require support to engage in the community or to undertake work, and are often subject to guardianship orders (substitute decision making). They are usually the most unheard in government consultation processes, and are sidelined or invisible at the representative level. They will be a large cohort of NDIS participants yet they have had little or no role in designing the Scheme.


The self-advocacy movement is their movement. This is a fundamental principle of the work and operational style of self-advocacy organisations. To take self-advocates’ language, reshape it and take ownership of it is to undermine the self-determination of the very people that governments claim to be supporting. It perpetuates the sidelining and invisibility.


A popular euphemism at present is “capacity building”. Sure, building self-advocacy skills does build capacity, but building capacity isn’t necessarily “self-advocacy”. In fact, it’s patronising and overlooks the disability rights aspect of self-advocacy. The aim isn’t self-determination or equality it’s just more training. It’s also the governments’ agenda not the self-advocates’ agenda.


Another popular euphemism is supported decision making. Sure supporting people to make decisions is a critical part of disability rights, but it is not self-advocacy. Rather it is a facet of the overall self-determination that is underpinned by self-advocacy.


There have also been “self-advocacy kits” which are simply information kits about something (pick your subject) dressed up with the term “self-advocacy”, but which provide absolutely no self-advocacy training or ongoing support, and no recognition that they are part of the self-determination of people with cognitive disabilities.


So, when using the term self-advocacy use it correctly. Use it proudly to indicate the global movement of some of the most marginalised people in our community who are taking control of their own voice and building their self-determination. Use the term self-advocacy to recognise that all people with disabilities have a right to be part of the community and a right to speak about and make decisions about their communities.


If people with cognitive disabilities don’t own the process, haven’t designed the process, and aren’t part of the outcome and what it does, then it’s not self-advocacy and should be called something else.


Advocacy for Inclusion provides self-advocacy training and ongoing support for people with cognitive disabilities and significant communication barriers. Our Self-advocacy Group is co-facilitated by self-advocates.

Continue reading
4578 Hits

Self Advocacy Group Update

This week's topic of "Preparing for meetings" fitted in well with the taking of photos for Advocacy for Inclusions NDIS pre planning kit. The kit has been put together to help people have ideas ready for their first NDIS meeting with their individual planner. Recent evidence has shown the importance of the pre planning process in the successful outcome of NDIS planning.

Also fitting in was our discussions focusing on our very own self advocacy group meetings and how they will look for next year. As part of meeting pre planning and setting of agendas, the group has brain stormed some topics that we would like to discuss and guest speakers we would like to hear from - some examples of ideas for next year are; contraception, personal safety in the community, fire safety in the home, personal training/exercise, diabetes education, medication safety and Volunteering ACT.
Recently, we started running our meetings slightly different with a set Agenda format. As a result self advocates are successfully taking on a greater role in the running of the group. An agenda has been helpful as it has provided a visual flow chart which amongst other things, helps keep us on topic and running to time.

Another change discussed this week was meeting times. With many of our group working and taking on new and exciting challenges, our current day and time of meetings (Thursday 1-3pm) is not going to work for next year. At this point we are looking at Tuesdays from 1pm-3pm for next year. We would appreciate any feedback from people who are attending or who wish to attend, on days and times that would suit you.

With the start of the new year, a new volunteer co facilitator will be needed to assist with the running/chairing of the group. Our most recent co facilitator, Kathryn R , will be standing down. We thank her for her time as co facilitator of the group. Kathryn has done a wonderful job and will continue on as a valued member of our self advocacy group next year.

Before the year is out we have a few more topics to be discussed.
6th November - Social Media with our own self advocate Anthony V guest speaking.
13th November - Discovering our strengths.
20th November - Advanced Care Planning and Wills - with an expert guest speaker
27th November - Self-esteem - feeling good about ourselves
4th December - End of year Celebration  - we will being go to a local café for afternoon tea (make sure to bring some money)
11th December - NDIS pre planning workshop in Braddon (RSVP required)
(This will be our last meeting for the year)

The group meets every Thursday from 1 - 3pm in the Griffin Centre. All people with disabilities are welcome to attend and groups are free. No registration necessary - just turn up

Continue reading
5295 Hits

Submission to the ACT Government Budget Consultation: Summary

Key areas for the ACT Government’s consideration in the upcoming budget include:


1.    Establish Disability ACT as the central policy coordination unit within government regarding disability matters.

There is no central policy coordination unit regarding disability matters, resulting in major gaps in government policy and an ad hoc response. Government funds could be saved were there a central policy coordination unit to review all policies as they are developed.


2.    Separate the dual appointment of the Public Advocate and Human Rights Commissioner.


The dual appointment hinders the capacity for people with disabilities to raise human rights complaints regarding guardianship practices and must be addressed immediately.


3.    Introduce a system for the continuous collection of data regarding people with disabilities across all areas of social policy.


The ACT Government must collect data about people with disabilities and the issues they face. The collection of this data is minimal in the ACT and yet it is vitally necessary to inform local policies if they are to include and meet the needs of the disability community.


4.    Address the high prevalence of violence against people with disabilities.


There is a high prevalence of violence against people with disabilities, particularly women with disabilities, yet resources targeted at addressing this in the ACT are scarce. The ACT Government must further develop strategies, programs and legislation to address this.


5.    Bring people with disabilities into the design and delivery of disability specific and mainstream policies and programs.


The Government should immediately establish a strategy that commits government agencies to meaningfully engage and support people with disabilities in consultations and as equal partners in leadership and representative roles, and in paid positions in the public service.


6.    Count people with disabilities as valued parents, worthy of the support they need to parent well.


The ACT Government must target policies and resources at supporting people with disabilities to fulfil their parenting rights and responsibilities as outlined in Article 23 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

See our full submission here.

Continue reading
4395 Hits

Self-Advocacy Special Group Meeting 11th December 2014 - NDIS Pre-planning Workshop


Special Group Meeting

11th December 2014 1:00-2:30pm


NDIA are running an
NDIS Pre-planning Workshop

Meeting: 12:30pm Advocacy For Inclusion
(we will walk and bus to venue)


1pm at 212 Northbourne Ave, Braddon

RSVP required to Sharon 6257 4005 or

Please RSVP as soon as possible

This event may be cancelled if
we don’t have enough people RSVP, limited places!

Continue reading
4607 Hits

Supported Decision Making App - Crowdfunding Campaign Update


Thanks everyone who has supported the Supported Decision making App! 

We are 15 days out from our campaigns end and so far we have raised $885. 

We are still along way from our goal so please share. 


What is the Supported Decision Making App? 

The Supported Decision-Making App is a tool to aid people with disabilities to make decisions with or without support from others.

Everybody draws on support to make decisions. For example, you might ask your partner for advice when making decisions about your career, or even aboutwhat dinner you feel like having tonight.

Some people with disabilities need extra support. This might be because they have a cognitiveimpairment and need extra help to weigh up the options. It might also be because they have nothad much practice making decisions. For example, we know that the pre-NDIS disability supportsystem does not offer people with disabilities options to choose from. In this system people withdisabilities get what they are given. Many now have significant decisions to make about theirsupports as they enter the NDIS, which they have never experienced before.

 The Supported Decision-Making App is designed to aid a person with disability through the decision-making process, inside or outside a supported decision-making arrangement. Supported decision-making is a community based skills building model of support. The person with disability nominates trusted others to support them to gather and consider the information necessary to make decisions in their lives. This is different to traditional guardianship models where a person is legally assigned to the person with disability to make decisions on their behalf.

For example, the App will prompt the person to consider the significance of the decision in their lives, what their options are and what the outcomes might be of each option, and who else their decision might involve or impact.

The App will not give the person with disability any answers or make a decision for the person with disability.

It provides prompts to step the person with disability through the things they might like to consider when making decisions.

It can be used as a workbook, where the decision-maker records relevant information to help them work through various aspects of their decision. This App aims to aid the decision making skills of those using it, developing the ability of people to make and communicate decisions with more independence and confidence

 Find our campaign here: Supported Decision Making App

Continue reading
12856 Hits

Self-Advocacy Group Update - 7 October 2014

The Self Advocacy group has recently farewelled Karen and welcomed back Sharon. Our plans for Karen's farewell at Floriade were cancelled due to the wet weather so we decided on afternoon tea at a local cafe instead. We wish Karen all the best for the future and she will be missed by the group, many of whom have attended her groups for over 4 years.

There are some big changes happening within the self-advocacy group with group members wanting to take on a bigger role in running the weekly meetings. The sessions will now be run from an Agenda with each person having the opportunity of taking on an assistive role if they wish. This is also in conjunction with the role of our volunteer co facilitator. 

Another change that will come into effect this week is extending the times of our weekly group session. The group will now run on Thursdays from 1pm - 3pm in the Griffin Centre. This has come about through increased participation and as we have grown more confident in sharing our opinions and ideas. 

The group will be meeting every Thursday from 1 - 3pm in the Griffin Centre. Our planned topics for the next 8 weeks are:
. 9  October 
Dealing with Neighbourhood Problems
. 16 October
    Communication & Active Listening
. 23 October
   Communication & Being Assertive
. 30 October
    Preparing for meetings
. 6 November
   Social media accounts
. 13 November
    Identifying our strengths
. 20 November 
   Advanced Care Planning

All people with disabilities are welcome to attend and groups are free. No registration necessary     - just turn up


Continue reading
3585 Hits

Beijing +20 Caravan: Perspectives of women with disabilities

To contribute to the NGO review for Beijing + 20 on women’s rights, Advocacy for Inclusion and WWDACT hosted a Caravan for women with disabilities to share their perspectives. They told us that the major issues facing them as Australian women include:


1.       Having a say – being recognised as the decision makers in their own lives as well as participants of decisions affecting the community more broadly.

2.       Access to employment, fair pay and fair work conditions. The women want real jobs for real pay and they want to be treated with respect.

3.       The right to be safe from violence in intimate relationships, at home with support workers/carers, in the work place, and in the community.


The women related all three of these major issues back to the need for better community inclusion and respect for people with disabilities, particularly women with disabilities.


See our full Caravan Report here.

Continue reading
9885 Hits

Support independence & decision making for people with #disability

Dear friends


People with disabilities need your support. We need your support.


Advocacy for Inclusion has launched our first ever crowdfunding campaign. We are making an App to support people with disabilities to make decisions. This will be a big help in many people becoming more independent. There is no other App anywhere that does this, particularly in plain or easy English format.


Everyone can make their own decisions – it’s just that some people need some support to do so.


How can you help?


1.            You can donate to the campaign! Go to you have until 22 October 2014 to do this, and because we are a charity your donation is tax deductible.


2.            Set up a workplace giving station and encourage your colleagues to make a contribution.


3.            Use social media to spread the word. However it works for you: twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn – get the word out there that you support this campaign.


a.            You can embed our campaign into any website you might have, by cutting and pasting this code onto your website where you’d like the campaign to appear:

<iframe width="100%" height="415" src="" frameborder="0" style="max-width:310px;border:0px solid #fff;" allowfullscreen></iframe>


b.            If you’ve got a Facebook page, you can add a ‘Donate’ button for your campaign in 5-clicks by heading to  


c.            Use the Hashtag #SDMApp


4.            Tag some friends to contribute. After you have made your own contribution you can tag 3 friends to do the same. Send them the link and let them know you’ve nominated them to be next to support this great innovation.


5.            Forward this email to everyone you know and encourage them to support the campaign.


It’s that easy.


Thanks for your support. We look forward to achieving our fundraising target of $25,000. Better still, we are looking forward to greater independence for people with disabilities by building this App.


Christina Ryan

Continue reading
5240 Hits

Supported Decision Making App - Crowdfunding Campaign

Supported Decision Making App - Crowdfunding Campaign


Everybody has the ability to make their own decisions, but some people need support.

Advocacy for Inclusion hopes to provide support with an interactive plain English app.  This app steps through the decision making process so that people with disabilities can identify preferences and build skills towards independent decision making. 

In order to develop this app we need $25 000. As a registered charity who doesn’t charge people with disabilities for our services, we need your help to raise these funds.

Join our crowdfunding campaign here at

Every contribution, big or small, will help us reach our goal and will make a big difference in the lives of people with disabilities.

Currently there is no such app available anywhere in the world that specifically targets people with cognitive disabilities in an easy read or plain English format. 

All people can and should be encouraged to make the decisions that will affect their lives. People with disabilities have the Human right to have control and make choices about their lives. People with disabilities have the right to be supported to make their own decisions.

Join our campaign today and support the rights of people with disabilities





 Read our Reports on decision making here: 



Ask me. I make my own decisionsMay 2013

A report into the findings of a study into the experience of control and choice of people with disabilities in the ACT

Word PDF

Plain English version:

Word  PDF 



Report on Supported decision Making, legal capacity and Guardianship2012

Word PDF



Continue reading
8471 Hits