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It Begins! Disability Advocates, Children and Adults Living with Disability Already Coping Toxic Att

"Many of the 4.4 Million Australian's living with disability and diversity hear the passive aggressive comments, see the looks, exclusion and social barriers created toward disability in our community, or are plain tipped out of their wheelchairs by airport staff because they just will not listen and provide human decency and respect", said Mr Night today.


"This week our children heard comments by talk show hosts and guests saying exactly what we have to tackle as part of rolling out the recommendations of the Disability Royal Commission.

"It has been a busy week for those of us advocating and working in the disability sector. Sadly I have heard some comments and seen attitudes this week that still makes my blood boil.

"What are those hurt full comments that put people's ignorance, prejudice and lack of education on their sleeve for all to see?

- why should our teachers have to have 'those' children in the classroom

- how are teachers supposed to cope

- they should be with people like them not with us because they will feel better together

- it's such a burden

"The Royal commission has not outlined a plan that shuts all Special School and expects teachers to absorb the students from those school into mainstream classrooms without supports and without drastic changes to our education setting and systems.

"There are many recommendations and ways to address segregation and should we decide to combine all students into 1 model of education that is truly inclusive, it would take a major and drastic revolution and restructure of our schools, teaching resources, physical settings, support for staff, radical funding model reviews and cultural improvements.

"This week I was interviewed by one announcer that told me no one is suggesting we keep all special school students behind tall metal fences and locked gates and I was treated as a hostile witness for suggesting that it isn't nice for everyone to be educated like that. I then had to embarrass the interviewer by reminding them that those gates and fences are a standard design for special schools right now.

"We know that some children need safer environments but do all the students in a special school need to be behind a metal fence with sharp points on the top? No of course not.

"Are there children that could join classrooms and thrive in a mainstream setting with basic supports, education for school staff and an inclusive model? Absolutely.

"If everyone has a think back to examples of painful, long days of boring learning, work sheets instead of activities, teachers without enough time for administration, planning and resource development that had to do the bare minimum to survive, no student thrives and enjoys that experience.

"Many of the educational approaches and inclusive practices that strengthen teaching and learning without segregation are things all students love and can benefit from, not just those with a disability.

"To the alarmists, businesses and well-meaning social warriors defending the Australian way of life from reasonable and positive change that ends segregation, I have a simple message - calm the farm, the sky is not falling.

"The recommendations of the Royal Commission are things we have been talking about for decades, they are flexible and there are many ways we can approach common barriers and seclusion. Most of it starts with a healthy attitude.

"A lot of the time it is about listening to people with disability and stakeholders and getting over your problems, your attitudes and your reluctance to change because we are past being patient and understanding while you breach our human rights, exclude, abuse, neglect, exploit and assault us. We hope that is ok with the rest Australia.

"I have faith in the collective human spirit that makes us great as a nation if we can all remember to tell those on their soap box trying to spread panic, to take a breath and remember we are simply talking about basic human rights.

"I am excited that Australia is now having these conversations and if these uncomfortable truths are hard to hear, then I hope all of Australia is paying attention.

"It is warming to see so many great service providers that are doing the right thing and their partnerships and support will make this process so much better.

"Let's simply make a plan and get some of these ongoing systemic issues sorted and quickly because abuse, neglect and exploitation cannot go on for another day longer!

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