Taking action

In Australia, everyone is encouraged to be involved in helping to ensure that the rules of the Disability Discrimination Act are followed. This is not only because it is the law but because every person in a community should be entitled to participate as fully as possible. This includes people with disabilities and their relatives, friends, carers and co-workers. Should everyone have their human rights respected, the whole community, including the economy of the country, will benefit. Here is an idea of how you can help to make this happen.

Activity Five

Choose an activity in your community to which everyone should have access.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • attending to business affairs (such as banking, paying bills, arranging telephone or electricity services)
  • participating in leisure activities (such as sports, movies, concerts or exhibitions)
  • accessing education (such as at schools, universities or evening classes)
  • going shopping (at small local shops, shopping malls and city centres).

Investigate and assess the place where you live. Take notes* or photographs to record the positives and negatives of access for everyone to the chosen activity. Be as fair as possible in your assessments. Remember that there are various types of disability to be catered for. Disabled people do not want others to feel sorry for them but for the community in which they live to respect their human rights.

Prepare a presentation of your findings. It could be used to inform your classmates or be given to the local council, Member of Parliament, sports group or shopping centre manager. It will increase understanding of the issue and may even help to avoid planning mistakes that would be very expensive to repair later. You could present your findings using any combination of photographs, short video clips, PowerPoint presentations, charts, graphs and speech.

* You could use a Data Retrieval Chart like the one in Worksheet 1.

Assessing your work

Now let’s look at how collecting information, communicating and working with others has either changed the way you think about this issue, or left you unmoved. With a partner, review your worksheets, the graffiti board and individual presentations. Use de Bono’s thinking hats to discuss the issue of disabled access in Australia. (http://members.optusnet.com.au/charles57/Creative/Techniques/sixhats.htm).

In particular, think about these five questions:

  1. How would you rate your understanding of human rights and their connection with disabled people when you began this unit of study?
  2. How would you rate it now?
  3. Now that you have enquired more into disabled people's attitudes and difficulties, has your response to people with disabilities changed or has it not changed?
  4. Did your research change the way you think?
  5. How would you rate the quality of your work in this unit?

Write a short paragraph (or list of dot points) explaining your position. It needs to be short but effective, briefly stating what you think and why you think that way. (Including evidence will make it more effective, but too much may bore your audience, so choose wisely!)

You will need to work out your rating scheme. Here are a few systems you could use:

  • A, B or C
  • numbered scales – say 1 to 10
  • words, such as excellent, very good, fair, etc.