Disability needs to be made visible. By owner Kate Weiss
On this, I have to speak. I am so glad that this royal commission is happening and that light is being shone into the dark corners of our society.
As a mother to a daughter with an intellectual disability who has just turned 18, there is a voice in my head that is constantly worried… has anything happened to her? Has anyone touched her? Could she even tell me? Should I put her on the pill… just in case anyone takes advantage of her? How will I know?
How can I protect her, my beautiful vulnerable girl? How can I make sure that when she is not in my care those around her will treat her with respect and care for her?
I believe that we are moving into an era where we, the human race, are demanding transparency and integrity and higher standards of behaviour. It is only through our voices and demands about what we WILL NOT abide by that our culture will transform.
Disability needs to be made visible. Integration for those with a disability into our society is just a word unless we open our hearts and minds. It can be confronting and uncomfortable if you have not been exposed to this world, but each person, whatever their circumstances, differences or limitations is a unique individual with their own gifts to contribute to life. It is up to us to have the eyes to see. Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder.
I also know firsthand that it can be a hard job and unrelenting – caring for those with extra needs, unpredictable behaviours 24/7. The unpaid carers and support workers need to be supported and their choice of career respected. This should not be a job for someone who can’t find anything else to do. It demands the highest levels of compassion, emotional maturity, psychological understanding, strategy and tactics for behavioural management, the ability to connect and see beyond the disability to the person within.
I truly hope that this commission will make the difference that is promises.