Formal recognition of complex needs is vital to raise the concerns of those who have faced historical exclusion and marginalisation.
It is for this reason that we believe categorisation is vital when working at a national level with government and professional bodies.
There is a world of difference in being able to live independently, articulate & self advocate and not.
A unique group
Having a category for moderate to severe intellectual disability and/or complex support needs is necessary to support efforts to create greater inclusion in policy at a national level as all people’s needs must be considered. Currently this group are rarely considered in systemic advocacy.
Australia's systems advocacy takes a universal view of disability and our family members needs are given scant recognition. The only point of difference that is funded by the Australian government, are children, women, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islanders and ethnic alliances.
Are these the only points of discrimination in disability policy?
Because our people need so much support to attain a normal life they are much more likely to suffer systemic neglect, community abuse, institutional abuse, financial abuse, sexual abuse than any other target group.
Not all people with developmental disability are unable to self represent but there are those who simply cannot and this changes a lot in the way we as a society need to protect people and recognise their needs. People with complex decision making disability often need the support of family to be a partner voice across their lifetime.
There may be a right to legal capacity, and we would never consider removing such a right, but if you do not understand in basic concepts the law and its ramifications, then this expressed right is simply an empty vessel. Basic things such as opening a bank account, managing finances, signing and maintaining leases, designing day to day activities and managing healthcare are not simply a rite of passage for all people. There must be an easy way for the supporters of people (usually family) to have limited legal authority to act on behalf of a person who cannot function without this support.
These issues are very real and very concerning as advantage is too easily taken. The recognition of moderate to severe intellectual disability and/or complex support needs is necessary to support efforts to create greater inclusion in policy at a national level as all people’s needs must be considered. Currently policy is centred around the majority - those who can articulate and self represent.
This formal recognition is vital to raise the concerns of those who have faced historical exclusion and marginalisation by not only society, but often by advocacy itself when considering the barriers that persons with intellectual disabilities face in being included in the community. What exactly, when considering the CRDP, does this actually mean and what does individual autonomy mean when decisions cannot be made without significant and ongoing support?
It is for this reason that we believe this categorisation is vital when working at a national level with government and professional bodies.
We see the use of moderate to severe intellectual disability and/or complex support needs as a strategic choice with historical roots in the concerns of our members.
Hopefully, by bringing the issues and concerns, that we as family have for our marginalised and often forgotten family members, policy makers and government will come to understand that the only way for some our family members to have a voice and often legal agency, is through the voice of the family that supports them.