Why Are We Failing Young People with a Disability?

Professor Eric Emerson, Professor of Disability Population Health at the Centre for Disability Research and Policy (CDPR)

Co-Presenter: John Della Bosca is the National Campaign Director for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Young people with a disability are more likely to experience social exclusion than their non-disabled peers. Social exclusion in adolescence leads to poor outcomes that affect, not only the health and wellbeing of the individual, but impact on their family and the wider community.

Some of the reasons that young people with a disability experience social exclusion are the cultural beliefs and community attitudes about disability; the intersection between disability, poverty and power; and the invisibility of young people with a disability in the ways we measure social progress.

With young disabled Australians five times more likely than their non-disabled peers to experience long-term unemployment and entrenched multiple disadvantage such as low income or poor health Eric Emerson, Professor of Disability Population Health will discuss society’s slow progress in providing adequate services and support to this community.

So, how many young people are we speaking about? How are we failing them and why does this happen?

Professor Eric Emerson

Professor Eric Emerson is Professor of Disability Population Health at the Centre for Disability Research and Policy (CDPR) where he leads on the Centre’s stream of work on disability and disadvantage. He is also Professor of Disability & Health Research at the Centre for Disability Research, Lancaster University, UK and Co-Director of the English specialist Public Health Observatory on intellectual disabilities.

The CDPR brings together the University's leading expertise within the disability field to create a greater understanding of disability and improve disability services and programs by increasing the use of evidence and research in policy decisions in Australia and the Asia Pacific Region.

John Della Bosca

John Della Bosca is the National Campaign Director for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

John joined the Australian Labor Party in 1973 and held numerous executive roles and initiated a number of important reforms including Stronger Together. He resigned from Parliamentary Service in August 2010 and joined the NDIS campaign.

An NDIS will provide funding for essential care, support, therapy, aids, equipment, home modifications and access to the community, education and training. The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is arguably Australia’s biggest social reform since the introduction of Medicare.

At its core, the NDIS will mean more support for more people. It is a person centred system of support. This means that people with disability will be at the centre of decisions about their lives. It’s about empowering people to make choices and then supporting those choices.

A key focus of the NDIS is early intervention. Acknowledging that the earlier supports and services are delivered in a person’s life – the better their life outcomes will be. This is especially important for children and young people.
Young people with disability have been let down for far too long. The NDIS is here to change lives for the better.