At some time in our lives, it is highly likely that all of us will either experience problems with our health and wellbeing resulting in a disability, or know someone who will, be it for a short period or permanently. Currently, over 4 million Australians are living with a disability, and approximately one-third require assistance with every-day activities, such as dressing and eating.

People living with a disability are much more likely to face a lack of equal opportunity in education and employment, and face barriers to accessing a range of basic social services. Irrespective of the type of disability, many people report facing social and financial issues including being unable to fully relate to family or friends, difficulty accessing services that others take for granted, and being discriminated against.

They face difficulties doing basic tasks like accessing public transport, are often asked intrusive and personal questions – sometimes by perfect strangers – about their state of health, or called drunk, lazy, bad-mannered, obstinate or a bevy of other insults – things most able-bodied people don’t have to deal with.

If you are living with a disability, others may not see the things you are able to do, what your abilities contribute to the lives of those around you and in your community generally. Maximise your abilities, capture opportunities for support and equal access, and stand up for your rights. Most importantly, be you and dare others to embrace you, as you are!

If you are experiencing any discrimination or problems accessing services to which you are entitled, consider engaging a professional advocate, such as Faileen James.

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