Why are we failing young people with a disability?

5 November 2013

Young Australians with a disability are five times more likely than their non-disabled peers to experience multiple disadvantages, including long term unemployment and social exclusion.

The question of why we are failing young people with a disability will be explored at a free talk, part of the Sydney Ideas series hosted by the University of Sydney, at 6pm on Wednesday November 6.

Professor Eric Emerson from the Centre for Disability Research and Policy, and John Della Bosca from the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), will debate what hinders progress in providing adequate services and support to this community.

"Discrimination is a fact of life for adolescents and young adults with disabilities. It affects their health and wellbeing and significantly constrains their opportunities for participating in society," said Professor Emerson.

"The personal and social costs of the resulting social exclusion are borne by the individual, their family and the wider community," he said.

Since 2001 the gap between young Australians with disabilities and their peers has widened in areas such as wellbeing, mental health, employment, having a voice in the community and feeling safe, according to Left Behind 2013, research recently published by the Centre for Disability Research and Policy.

"We need to combat the discrimination experienced by young people with disabilities. We need to provide effective safeguards for those young people with disabilities who are at the greatest risk of discrimination, and we need to reform disability service," Professor Emerson said.

John Della Bosca is National Campaign Director for the NDIS, arguably the biggest social reform since the introduction of Medicare. He described the NDIS as a catalyst for cultural and economic change.

"Young people with disability have been let down for far too long and the NDIS will change their lives for the better," Mr Della Bosca said.

"A key focus of the NDIS is early intervention.

"It's acknowledging that the earlier supports and services are delivered in a person's life the better their life outcomes will be.

"Importantly too the NDIS allows someone with a disability to be at the centre of decisions about their lives.

"Empowering people to make their own choices and then supporting these choices is essential to any scheme designed to help young people with disabilities," he said.

Event details

Title: Why are we failing young people with a disability?
Date: Wednesday 6 November
Time: 6pm-7.30pm
Speakers: Professor Eric Emerson, Professor of Disability Population Health, Centre for Disability Research and Policy, University of Sydney John Della Bosca, National Campaign Director, National Disability Insurance Scheme
Venue: Law Lecture Foyer, Eastern Avenue, University of Sydney
Cost: Free event, with registration required
Bookings: book online now with Sydney Ideas or call 9351 1935

Contact: Jenny Eather

Phone: 0478 303 173

Email: 322d085b00462d510222503d79383f285b021f7e1d2b314c5938