Big Society, Disability and Civil Society Research

Website for ESRC research project 'Big Society? Disabled People with Learning Disabilities and Civil Society'

6th August, 2015: The Value of Self Advocacy, Centre for Disability Studies, The University of Sydney

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Today, Dan and Katherine joined self advocates at the University of Sydney’s Centre for Disability Studies Professor Patricia O’Brien began the day by welcoming the fifty delegates from across New South Wales to the event. Audience members included: self advocates, family members, practitioners and academics.

The Inclusive Research Group at the University of Sydney’s Centre for Disability Studies began the presentations with a presentation “What does the NDIS mean to me?”. The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is currently being rolled out across Australia and will see a shift away from public funded services for disabled people to the introduction of individualized plans and budgets. The Inclusive Research Group spoke about the research they have don with people with intellectual disabilities and their concerns about a lack of accessible information, uncertainty about how the scheme will work and whether there will be any funding for self-advocacy under the NDIS. However, a member of the audience, who was part of a pilot of the NDIS, explained that he felt he had a good plan and a good life.

Next up, Dan Goodley, The University of Sheffield, UK, and Katherine Runswick-Cole, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK, talked about self-advocacy in the UK. Their presentation described the threats to self-advocacy in the UK as well as the opportunities self-advocacy brings.

The session ended with a world café where participants reflected on why self-advocacy is important to them and how this can be supported.

Katherine said: “ We were absolutely thrilled to be able to spend time in Sydney learning about self-advocacy and sharing the experience in the UK.   This visit was particularly timely given the move to personalization in Australia. We hope that people in Australia will learn from the UK experience and avoid some of the pitfalls that have emerged.”

You can download Dan and Katherine’s presentation here: Big Society July, 2015

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Author: Katherine RC

Katherine is Research Fellow in Disability Studies and Psychology at the Research Institute for Health and Social Change at Manchester Metropolitan University

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