Getting personal about mental health is a sign of strong leadership

14 March 2018

Leaders who speak openly about their own mental health make powerful contributions to developing and maintaining mentally healthy workplaces. Sharing stories can set the tone for positive communication and empower colleagues to reflect on and discuss their own mental wellbeing.

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New Zealand's ageing workforce - the elephant in the room for many companies

12 February 2018

Let’s face it, we are living longer and the old retirement age just isn't reflective of how much healthier we are. However, people who had hard physical jobs may need to scale back a bit and work less hours or consider a different twilight career.

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Disability Pride: What Does it Really Mean?

1 December 2017

The Kiwi behind the idea for New Zealand’s Disability Pride Week is Wellingtonian, Nick Ruane, board member Disabled People’s Assembly. We ask him about the significance of the week for disabled New Zealanders, what “claiming our place” means and where he sees Disability Pride Week Aotearoa heading.

For a long time, disabled people, both in New Zealand and overseas have been defined and categorised by the systems and rules the state has placed around us. By and large we’ve existed in a system of care and treatment within a medical and welfare construct.

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Chance to be first disability convention-compliant nation

30 November 2017

New Zealand could become the first nation to comply with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, but no country has yet made the "necessary changes".

That comment came yesterday from Dunedin lawyer and ACC researcher Warren Forster in a talk given on the last day of a national "disability matters" conference in Dunedin. A UN committee monitoring compliance with the convention had earlier urged New Zealand to adopt a human rights approach to ACC-related access to justice issues, and recommended that we "make steps to change", Mr Forster said.

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The too hard basket: Breaking the link between disability and poverty

22 November 2017

Less than half of New Zealanders with disabilities are in paid employment. New research from the Maxim Institute suggests employers are missing out by assuming there will be a cost to accommodating an employee with a disability.

Imagine a person who’s a father, a teacher and a musician. He’s also blind. How do you think he’s usually described by other people? In the words of the man himself, most people will “put the blind first”. We heard this story and many others like it when we started our research into poverty, disability, and employment; examples of the battle against perception that confronts people with disabilities when they’re looking for work. It’s one of the reasons that only 40% of New Zealanders with disabilities are in paid employment. Of the remaining 60%, three quarters want to work but don’t have a job. So, what’s in their way?

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Four young Hamiltonians are having a global impact on disability rights

20 November 2017

Born with a condition which meant the bones in her leg didn't develop correctly, Robbie Francis has had a prosthetic leg her whole life.

A leg she calls her Lucy leg.

The name also doubles as the name of a social enterprise called The Lucy Foundation she and three other Hamiltonians created.

Francis, Ben Scott, Simone Haylett-Petty and Jessica Pantoja-Sanders started the foundation in 2013 to empower people with disabilities through trade.

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Access Alliance welcomes Disability Minister’s commitment

20 November 2017

Access Alliance welcomes Disability Minister’s commitment to improving access to work.

The Access Alliance welcomes Disability Minister Carmel Sepuloni’s commitment to increasing access for New Zealanders with a disability.

The Minister was responding to a discussion paper from the Maxim Institute that more needs to be done to remove the barriers for people with disability gaining meaningful employment*.

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Blind scholar could help fix her own condition

27 October 2017

As a terrified teenager losing her sight, Alix Coysh was advised not to choose a career in science. Something more tactile, like masseuse, would be a more suitable profession, she was told.

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NZ's “high appetite” for diversity praised

17 October 2017

New Zealand leaders may like to think of themselves as progressive when it comes to workplace diversity but businesses still have a long way to go before achieving true equality – as a recent report from NZX proves.

The report shows that publicly listed companies have made barely noticeable headway in terms of rolling out diversity policies and getting more women onto their boards since 2015.

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'Disability is the one discrimination we all seem to ignore and we must stop'

2 October 2017

This week I met a remarkable man called Steve Wood who opened my eyes to the discrimination disabled people face on a daily basis.

I have to admit that until I talked to Steve, I’d not given much thought to the challenges they face and the impact that has on their families.

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New Partnership Targets People Misusing Mobility Parks

27 September 2017

Finding a mobility parking space in Christchurch is set to get easier for people with access issues.

Christchurch City Council and CCS Disability Action(external link) have joined forces for a pilot project aimed at making it easier to find mobility parking spaces and to stop them being abused by those without a valid need.

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Man lost his Leg in a Shark Attack, Denied Disability Pension

26 September 2017

This is an Australian story, but how would be have fared with in NZ with our ACC/Medical system?

In February this year, 25-year-old Glenn Dickson was mauled by a 3 ½ metre bull shark off the coast of far north Queensland. Incredibly, Glenn survived the brutal attack but his right leg was severed and he almost bled to death in the water.

He underwent five hours of surgery but a team of doctors couldn’t save his right leg and it was amputated. During his epic journey to hospital Glenn almost passed away six times, and there’s no doubt he would have died if it hadn’t been for the heroic actions of his three mates who saved his life.

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Call for Applications for the Japanese Core Leaders Development Programme

19 September 2017

Kia ora koutou – kia hiwa ra!

Nominations welcomed and wanted for “Young Leaders to Travel to Japan in February 2018”.

The Office for Disability Issues has been asked to co-ordinate the identification of Young Leaders (Aged 23 to 40 years).

Important dates - complete the nominee application form and email it to by 20th October. The Office needs to notify the Japanese Embassy on representatives by 2 November 2017.

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How one wheelchair-racing athlete is using her notoriety to give back

12 September 2017

Team USA wheelchair racer, Arielle Rausin, uses her career to fundraise and support charities that are important to her. Read on to find out about her recent trip to Kenya where she worked with the Walkabout Foundation to help distribute wheelchairs to people in need.

My job is incredible; I get to travel and race in marathons all over the world. I am incredibly lucky. But I know that there are a lot of people who aren’t. So, after a few years of competing, I realised that I could put my career to good use and start fundraising for good causes.

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Disabled people forced to choose between food and health, forum told

6 September 2017

Disabled people say they're being forced to choose between food and doctor appointments, because they don't have enough support.

IHC hosted an election forum in Wellington today to bring attention to the issues facing disabled people.

Audience member Ally Moore told the politicians many people like herself had no choice but to spend their adult life receiving a benefit.

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'Disability is uncomfortable. Let's have an open conversation'

22 August 2017

Blind entrepreneur Caroline Casey is travelling 1,000km through Colombia to raise awareness of disability exclusion in the business world

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Access Matters: Lessons from Canada

17 August 2017

A Lecture at AUT: Why We Need Enforceable and Mandatory Accessibility Legislation to Make New Zealand Accessible to Disabled People – Learnings from the Ontarian Experience

David Lepofsky is the Chair of the Accessibility for Ontarians with the Disabilities Act Alliance. He has practiced law in Canada since 1981. He is also a member of the University of Toronto Faculty of Law where he teaches constitutional law and human rights. He has led multiple initiatives that have furthered the legal protection of persons with disabilities from discrimination including the adoption of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act 2005.

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Mixed Ability Rugby

11 August 2017

Check this site out. While Rugby isn't every person's ideal way of having fun, it is great to see Diversity and Inclusiveness in action.

If you would like to support this venture, please make contact via their website. Mixed Ability Rugby is the concept of playing rugby whilst ensuring that individuals with learning disabilities, physical disabilities and those recovering from mental health problems are included. It is quite simply ‘RUGBY FOR ALL’.

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A short disability history of Aotearoa New Zealand

31 July 2017

In 1840 the Treaty of Waitangi was signed between the British Crown and the indigenous Māori population of Aotearoa New Zealand. Its principles promised partnership, participation and protection. However, colonialism was largely negative for Māori and two centuries later they are disproportionately affected by socio-economic deprivation and disability.

Nineteenth-century New Zealand was settled mainly by people from Britain and Europe who were prepared to endure a long and risky sea trip for a better life. But disability was unwelcome and immigration acts banned ‘cripples, idiots, lunatics, infirm, blind, deaf and dumb’. Nevertheless, by the turn of the century large ‘asylums’ mixed several categories of ‘undesirables’. Physically disabled people were more likely to be housed in the ‘chronics wards’ of regular hospitals.

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New disability system a step closer

20 July 2017

Disability Issues and Associate Health Minister Nicky Wagner says a hard-working and talented group has produced a high-level design for the transformed disability support system.

“The co-design group, which includes disabled people, worked intensively over several months to create and shape the framework for this new system,” Ms Wagner says.

“Disabled people are experts in their own lives. They’ve been the driving force behind this transformation and instrumental in its design. This is a great example of ‘nothing about us, without us’.”

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Break the Silence: Mike King says youth suicide 'national shame'

17 July 2017

Television celebrity and suicide campaigner Mike King is adding his voice to growing calls for New Zealand to Break the Silence on suicide.

This month the New Zealand Herald has launched a special series on youth suicide to raise awareness of how and why we lead the developed world in teen suicide and hold the second worst rate in youth suicide (25 and under).

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New Māori words for autism, mental health terms

29 June 2017

Keri Opai, strategic lead for Te Pou o te Whakaaro Nui - the national centre of mental health research, information and workforce development - headed the development of the glossary.

He says it was evident there was no Māori equivalent for many words, such as autism.

"In my experience, people with autism tend to have their own timing, spacing, pacing and life-rhythm," he said.

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Tennis: One-armed Kiwi player earns ATP point

23 June 2017

One armed Kiwi tennis player Alex Hunt has earned his first ATP World ranking point.

The 23-year-old, who plays with a prosthetic lower left arm, beat Christopher Cajigan without dropping a game in round one of the US$15,000 ITF event in Guam.

Pleased with his form during the match, Hunt said 'the key was his ability to control his opponent's serve with his forehand and dominate points'.

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NZ Sign Language Matariki book digitised

21 June 2017

Four Māori language picture books from the award-winning Te Reo Singalong series have been translated into New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL), including one about Matariki.

There are 13 books in the full Te Reo Singalong series, the four most popular books were chosen to be translated into NZSL as free digital versions - "Matariki", "Kia Ora", "Kei te Peke Ahau", and "He Aha Tēnei?"

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Better mental health education needed in schools - petition

16 June 2017

An education system is an essential part of a functional society.

In school we are supposed to learn the skills and knowledge we need, things like reading and writing, maths and history.

But is this system outdated? Is the education system failing to prepare young people for what they'll actually face in life?

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Disabled bring workplace benefits

13 June 2017

Employing a disabled person is seen by many employers as too difficult, too expensive and likely to result in lower productivity. Those are the perceived negatives, says Adrian Coysh, Auckland partner of diversity-focused recruitment company JobCafe, but he believes employers generally don't understand the benefits disabled workers can bring to a workplace.

"Disabled workers appreciate the opportunity they have been given and this commonly leads to loyalty and longevity in a role," says Coysh, "with many disabled employees working harder and more conscientiously as a way of proving to their able-bodied colleagues that they're just as capable of doing the job."

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Helping US Based Corporations Join the Global Disability Inclusion Conversations

7 June 2017

I am honored to work with Corporate Brands all over the world on strategies to fully include persons with disabilities in their workforces, as clients assuring their services and products are accessible and on strategies to tell their stories for consumers that care about social impact via social media and other marketing channels. Full inclusion of a diverse workforce that includes individuals with disabilities can be an important part of your brands Corporate Social Responsibility.

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7 Things You May Want to Know About Disability but Be Afraid to Ask

31 May 2017

Ah, disabilities. Whether acquired upon birth or sometime during our lives, some people look at us with curiosity, pushing it as far as pointing fingers. Some offer to pray for us (why?) or avoid us, because who knows, maybe it’s contagious? Not many able-bodied people seem to treat their peers with disabilities as, well – “normal people.” Maybe it’s because they don’t know just how similar we actually are? Well, fear not, because I’m going to give you a little bit of an insight into how we see the world.*

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Shared by Jennifer Brown Consulting

31 May 2017

Last week, I spoke on a panel about diversity as a competitive advantage at the Interbrand Breakthrough Brands Summit in partnership with Facebook at the New York Stock Exchange.

The Summit coincided with Interbrand's Breakthrough Brands 2017 report, which seeks to discover and celebrate the next generation of startups, upstarts, challengers, problem solvers, innovators, and category creators that are embodying growth.

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Elective surgery criteria needs overhaul, injured man says

29 May 2017

What this article does not analyse is the cost/benefit ratio - working part time and perhaps getting a benefit, versu working full time after the op......

A Christchurch man turned down for back surgery says the Government is "promoting disability" by underfunding health services.

Barry Adams, 35, suffered a prolapsed disc in his upper spine when his bike hit a pothole in 2014.

The IT business analyst has since been denied surgery twice as he did not meet Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) criteria – despite it being the recommended treatment.

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Diversity advocate welcomes new NZX rules

19 May 2017

A top diversity advocate has welcomed the new NZX corporate governance code, saying an increased focus on diversity will have a positive impact on New Zealand’s workplaces.

“The new reporting regime will give diversity and the ways in which it can be achieved even more focus and we are sure to see some exciting new initiatives coming out of some of our biggest organisations,” said independent director Sarah Haydon, who is chair of the Cavalier Corporation.

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Former newsreader Tom Bradley leads bid to access Tauranga sea views

11 May 2017

A plan to create a network of easy-access vantage points for the handicapped to enjoy Tauranga's sea views has been launched by former TV personality and newsreader Tom Bradley.

The Beaches for Everyone project was promoted to city councillors yesterday during public submissions on the draft 2017-18 Annual Plan.

Mr Bradley, who read the news for 25 years, said he was building on the success last year of the construction of the disability-friendly viewing platform on Karewa Parade, Papamoa.

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Counties Manukau’s home support funding is up 32%

5 May 2017

Counties Manukau’s home support funding is up 32%

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says the latest data shows that funding for home support services in Counties Manukau is up 32 per cent.

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When People Say 'You Look Tired'

4 May 2017

“You look tired.”

I don’t know if there’s ever a day I don’t hear that phrase at least once. Sometimes I hear it multiple times a day. You look tired. It used to offend me, but now I just respond with one simple answer: “I am tired.”

You see, I don’t just look tired, I am tired. I’m tired almost every time you see me. My face looks exhausted and my eyes are often red because I’m just so tired. But that’s not such a terrible thing. Let me explain why.

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The power of exercise for mental health

2 May 2017

Exercise helps to relieve stress, improve sleep patterns, boost the mood, improve concentration and sharpen the memory. It is also widely recognised as an effective tool to relieve moderate depression and anxiety symptoms and prevent relapses.

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What Your Child Needs To Know About Disability

1 May 2017

There is a big difference between the way children I am related to interact with me compared to the children of strangers who might encounter me for the first time, perhaps as they walk towards me on the street, or seeing me in a crowded restaurant, or waiting in line at the supermarket checkout.

While I don’t have any children myself, I do have nieces and nephews. The eldest is very nearly an adult, the youngest was brought in his mother’s arms in a rabbit onesie for a family meal at Easter.

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31 'Habits' of People With Anxiety

28 April 2017

There are the quirky, small things that make you, you. Then, there are the things you do because of anxiety. While personality traits and anxious habits can blend together, to an outsider it’s not always clear which of these “habits” are driven by anxiety. Whether it makes you look “rude” (avoiding phone calls, canceling plans) or “odd” (leaving a social setting quickly, bouncing your leg) — it can be hard when others judge you based on these actions without knowing what’s going on inside your head.

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After the equal pay decision, joy – and anxiety – from care workers who missed out

27 April 2017

Amidst the celebration of last week’s landmark care worker pay settlement came concerns about how future wage discrepancies will affect the mental healthcare sector. Jess McAllen reports.

Last Tuesday it was announced that workers in aged and disability residential care and home and community support services will receive pay rises between 15 and 50 per cent, depending on qualifications and experience.

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27 April 2017

New Zealand has joined an alliance of the world’s biggest public research funding agencies to provide new research opportunities that target chronic diseases, starting with mental health.

The Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC) has joined the Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases (GACD), with the support of the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment. GACD funds joint programmes into lifestyle-related or chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers, lung diseases, and mental health. The alliance includes three of New Zealand’s major research partners: Australia, Canada, and China.

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Study Backs Therapeutic Benefits Of Horseback Riding

26 April 2017

Horseback riding is frequently offered for people with developmental disabilities and now a new analysis suggests that the activity really does have a therapeutic benefit.

In a review of existing studies, researchers found that horseback riding interventions helped boost strength, balance and other skills for both children and adults with a range of physical and developmental disabilities.

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When My Son on the Autism Spectrum Told Me What He Thought of Sesame Street’s Julia

13 April 2017

When the “60 Minutes” segment about Julia, Sesame Street’s new autistic muppet character, aired, within minutes my Facebook feed was filled with stories about it, and my phone started pinging with text messages.

One of the stories included a link to the online video of the segment, which I turned on and my son came to stand next to me as I watched it.

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Microsoft Hosting Job Fair For Those On The Spectrum

12 April 2017

In a bid to help more people with autism land jobs, Microsoft and other Fortune 500 companies are teaming up for a virtual career fair specifically for those with the developmental disorder.

The first-ever Autism @ Work virtual career fair will allow people with autism to connect with recruiters from the tech giant in addition to AT&T, EY, Ford, Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s Dandelion program, JPMorgan Chase, NCR and SAP, Microsoft said.

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Becky, Barbie's friend who uses a wheelchair, was discontinued. Here's why.

11 April 2017

Last year, Mattel announced that it was giving Barbie a makeover — introducing new body shapes, skin tones and even flat feet to make the iconic doll look more realistic. “Barbie reflects the world girls see around them,” Mattel president and COO Richard Dickson said.

Mattel made a similar statement in 1997 when it introduced “Share-a-Smile Becky,” a Barbie friend who used a wheelchair — but that time, the toymaker’s efforts didn’t go quite as planned.

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Disability system transformation group announced

5 April 2017

Disability Issues and Associate Health Minister Nicky Wagner today announced the group responsible for designing the new disability support system.

“The co-design process is an exciting opportunity for leaders in the disability sector to work in partnership with government to transform the disability support system,” Ms Wagner says.

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How to help more disabled people achieve their aspiration – getting a job and keeping it

3 April 2017

This week’s triggering of Article 50 has seen miles of column inches written on what Brexit will mean for jobs. Trade deals, immigration reform and legal changes will all have knock-on effects in the job market, and by 2019 these will be clearer. However, there is a much more immediate and resolvable employment matter to hand demanding urgent attention.

A million disabled people in the UK want to work, but are blocked from doing so. Just 48 per cent of disabled working-age adults are employed, compared to 80 per cent of non-disabled adults. This is one of the most striking injustices of our generation. It robs individuals of purpose and income, and our economy of employees and workers.

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Better outcomes for disabled Pasifika people

17 March 2017

A new plan to improve outcomes for disabled Pasifika people is being welcomed by Associate Health Minister Nicky Wagner.

Faiva Ora, which means Work for Life, is a five-year improvement plan developed by the Ministry of Health.

“Pasifika people are not accessing disability support services as much as expected. Faiva Ora considers why that is and what can be done about it,” Ms Wagner says.

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Bucking Trend, 9 In 10 With Autism Land Jobs After Training

16 March 2017

When given the right supports and training, a new study suggests that nearly all young people with autism who qualify for supported employment can learn to excel on the job.

Nine out of 10 transition-age youth with autism who participated in an intensive job training program were working part-time earning at least minimum wage three months after graduating high school. What’s more, 87 percent were still working after 12 months.

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New website described as TripAdvisor for disabled people

15 March 2017

If you wanted to find out how good that store is down the road, there’s a bunch of apps and websites that could help you out.

But what about if you have a disability and you need to find out if they have the right facilities?

Well, there’s now a website that has been created specifically for people with disabilities, so that they too have a strong consumer voice.

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Children's Commissioner calls for universal disability screening for kids at age five

13 March 2017

The Children's Commissioner is calling for all children to be screened for developmental and learning disorders when they enter school.

Judge Andrew Becroft said identifying issues early could even out the playing field for children earlier in life, and allow authorities to target resources more efficiently.

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6 March 2017

This is a post that I've wanted to write for a long time, probably for about a year. There's a reason to why I haven't posted it until now, a bit of a cycle if you want. Event happens that forgets or discriminates against disabled people > I get annoyed and frustrated > go to write post > don't write it in hope that next time things will be better. Well, they haven't got better and I've been getting so frustrated about things that I've ended up in tears sometimes.

What I'm about to say is something that I know I'm not alone in thinking. Most days on Twitter I see fellow disabled people addressing this issue of disability being left out of people's diversity and every single time I see the tweets ignored or not given the recognition such an issue deserves. Either people don't care or they spend their time dismissing the idea that disabled people are being forgotten.

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Disability support system to be transformed

3 March 2017

Associate Health and Disability Issues Minister Nicky Wagner today announced a three month co-design process with the disability sector to begin a nationwide transformation of the disability support system.

“The current system does not work well for all disabled people. What we are working toward is a new system, based on the Enabling Good Lives (EGL) vision and principles, including individualised funding,” Ms Wagner says.

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'They find every excuse not to do it' - disability advocates

2 March 2017

Many public buildings are still being built without proper access for those with disabilities, a disability advocate says.

The newly-created Access Alliance - comprised of disability service providers and advocates - said there were too many obstacles for the 1.1 million New Zealanders with physical and mental disabilities.

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Making NZ more accessible to disabled people could make average Kiwi $500 a year better off

1 March 2017

Making New Zealand more accessible to people with disabilities could boost average Kiwi incomes by about $500 a year, a new group says.

The Access Alliance, a group of nine disability advocacy agencies, says a law requiring accessibility could enable 14,000 more disabled people to work, save taxpayers $270 million in welfare benefits, and boost economic output by at least $2.3 billion, or about $500 a year for every Kiwi.

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No 10 policy head George Freeman says disability payments should go to the 'really disabled'- not those who suffer from anxiety

28 February 2017

The head of Theresa May's policy unit has claimed disability benefits should go to "really disabled people" rather than those who are "taking pills at home, who suffer from anxiety".

George Freeman said it was right to introduce reforms to personal independence payments (PIP), a benefit intended to help people of working age with some of the extra costs caused by a disability.

Critics argue that the changes will will reduce the number of people eligible to claim by 160,000 and cut £3.7bn from the benefits bill over the next five years.

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New WHO data show a huge spike in cases, including in India

27 February 2017

More people are affected by depression than any other disease in the world. According to new estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO), depression is the largest disability worldwide with the number of people living with depression increasing by over 18% between 2005 and 2015.

Furthermore, over 80% of the disease burden is in developing countries. In India’s case, the total cases of depressive disorders in 2015 were 5,66,75,969 — nearly 5% of population. The total cases of anxiety disorders in the same period were 3,84,250,93 — which is 3% of the population.

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Murder is murder, despite the circumstances.

10 February 2017

On 14 July 1997, in a provincial New Zealand town, a mother killed her 17-year-old autistic daughter, Casey Albury. Suddenly the spotlight was on autism as a policy problem in New Zealand. At that time autism was considered a rare and unusual condition, and if people had heard about it, it was probably because of the 1988 Oscar award-winning movie Rain man. Casey’s mother’s trial, and eventual sentence, was a popular media story.

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Rethinking Autism in the Workplace

7 February 2017

Australia needs to “rethink” autism in the workplace, according to a not-for-profit disability employment organisation, involved in a world-first initiative to employ autistic adults in specialist animal care roles.

EPIC Assist, an organisation which helps people with disability to prepare for, find and maintain meaningful employment, said there were major problems with the way society viewed disability.

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What This Year's Oscar Nominees Got Right -- and Wrong -- About Disability

27 January 2017

The 2017 Academy Award nominations were released yesterday. Of the nine films nominated for Best Picture, four have themes or sub-plots related to disability. “Manchester by the Sea” includes themes of mental health, alcoholism and drug use. Likewise, “Moonlight” includes story lines surrounding drug addiction. “Arrival,” a science-fiction film, includes a child with cancer.

“Fences,” a film that has received multiple accolades for its racially diverse themes, also includes a disability storyline. Lead character Troy Maxson (Denzel Washington)’s older brother Gabe Maxson (Mykelti Williamson) sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) during World War II. Children in the neighborhood often torment Gabe. When Troy bails Gabe out of jail for disturbing the peace, Troy unknowingly signs a paper that routes half of Gabe’s pension to a psychiatric hospital, forcing Gabe to be institutionalized.

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Feds Set Disability Hiring Quota

17 January 2017

With a new hiring goal, the federal government plans to use affirmative action to grow the number of people with disabilities on its payroll.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission finalized a rule this month that will set a hiring goal for all federal agencies.

Under the plan, 12 percent of each entity’s workforce should be people with disabilities and 2 percent should be those with “targeted” conditions including intellectual and developmental disabilities.

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The Beautiful Side Of Disability

13 January 2017

When asked to think about diversity, most people tend to think about race and gender. One type of “underrepresented minority” that is often overlooked – in spite of often being as visible as gender or skin color – are the individuals living with genetic, physical, behavioral or intellectual differences.

We spent some time with Xian Horn, founder of Give Beauty Wings and Changeblazer. Born with cerebral palsy, Xian has embraced her physical differences and used them to educate and improve the lives of countless individuals. Through her efforts as a consultant and educator, Xian has shown that even a modest effort and some thoughtfulness does have a significant positive impact on a large segment of our society, and that organizations that educate themselves about disabilities stand to reap huge practical and economic benefits. In fact, after reading this interview, you may come to the conclusion that the term “disability” is misplaced.

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The beach mat that changes everything for people with disabilities

13 December 2016

A beach mat trialled on Mount beaches this weekend could open a whole new world for locals with disabilities.

A strip of plastic matting gave wheelchair-bound locals an opportunity to get onto the beach and down to the water's edge.

The weekend trial was a success and Tauranga City Council was looking for sponsors to fund the installation of the mat on a semi-permanent basis.

One of the first mat users was Stacey Roche, who moved to Mount Maunganui two months ago for the beach and laid-back lifestyle.

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The 7 Surprising Early Signs Of Alzheimer’s Disease

7 December 2016

The average Alzheimer’s patient is not “Still Alice,” the 50-something linguistics expert from the Academy Award-winning movie who faces a devastating diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease. The average Alzheimer’s patient is in her late 70s, whose disease comes on more slowly than depicted in that film, says George Perry, Ph.D., dean of the College of Sciences at the University of Texas San Antonio and editor-in-chief of theJournal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

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Disability services want funds to match complexity of care

1 December 2016

Inadequate government funding for care of people with disabili­ties has put some providers in deficit or dipping into reserves, industry organisations say.

Both the residential and the home-based care provider groups say their members’ mar­gins are stretched to cover busi­ness as usual, let alone to allow investment in the new direction of individualised care.

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Disability discrimination: Is stigma to blame for employment drop?

25 November 2016

Having a disability can be a barrier for many people who want to get a job or continue in education.

Nearly a fifth (19%) of people of working age in Scotland are disabled according to a new report, which also revealed employment rates are dropping among those with a disability.

The report, issued by a new coalition of six Scottish charities under the Disability Agenda Scotland (DAS) banner, highlighted a 20% spike in disability hate crimes from 2013/14 to 2014/15.

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November Newsletter

24 November 2016

Here is this months newsletter...

Welcome to this month's edition of Possibility, concentrating on disability employment. Please share this with all your networks and encourage them to subscribe to our newsletters themselves.

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Autism and Human Evolutionary Emergence of Collaborative Morality

23 November 2016

A subtle change occurred in our evolutionary history 100,000 years ago which allowed people who thought and behaved differently - such as individuals with autism - to be integrated into society, academics from the University of York have concluded.

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“I have always strived to be as independent as possible, but it hasn’t always been straightforward”

22 November 2016

Becca runs a self-directed group for disabled young people moving into adult services in Ipswich called Progression Sessions. In this blog Becca describes her experience of independent living.

I have always strived to be as independent as possible, but it hasn’t always been straightforward. This became obvious when I finished sixth form and began to look for work. I had chosen not to go to university, because the idea of spending another 3 years listening to lectures and writing long essays had no appeal to me at all. Looking back, I was very naive in thinking it would be quick and easy.

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What’s behind the disability employment gap?

18 November 2016

This morning, the Government has published the latest data on disabled people in and out of work. So what does it tell us?

We know disabled people are twice as likely to be unemployed as non-disabled people.

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The way I see it: living with partial blindness

17 November 2016

Of all those registered blind or partially sighted, 93% retain some useful vision – often enough to read a book or watch a film. But this can lead to misunderstanding and confusion

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National Disability Emergency Plan?

16 November 2016

Kaikoura, New Zealand was struck with an earthquake with it being 7.5 on the scales at 12:03am on the 14th November. Shortly after this Wellington CBD was hit as well as reports of people feeling earthquakes right up to Auckland.

As a Autistic individual I have been wide awake ever since the earthquakes started to happen, although I am not in the effected areas but I myself kicked into gear to make sure all my families and friends were safe. I rang my mum in the early hours of the morning to check up on her as Hawkes Bay Civil Defense had issued Tsunami’s warnings at the time. My mum was safe thank goodness.

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Tourism is for Everybody campaign: making travel more accessible

15 November 2016

Tourism is for Everybody is a campaign aimed at encouraging individuals, businesses and policy makers to work together to deliver a warmer welcome for ALL visitors, no matter what their disability. Charity Tourism for All, who is running the campaign, tells us what it means for disabled people and how you can get involved.

The campaign Tourism is for Everbody is not just about installing accessible facilities. It is about understanding, awareness and respect. Disabled individuals, tourism businesses and policymakers, can all get involved in spreading the word and improving the experience of disabled travellers and tourists in the UK.

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People with disabilities kick-start their career in aged care

14 November 2016

A ten week pilot program, which provides people with an intellectual disability with skills, training and experience to kick-start a career in aged care, has been hailed a success and could be an important step forward in meeting the employment demands of the growing sector.

Designed for people with an intellectual disability, the program 'CareerAbility in Aged Care' is a collaboration between aged care provider IRT Group and disability support organisation The Flagstaff Group.

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Writing disability is no barrier to high achieving Napier teen Louis Daysh

7 November 2016

A writing disability that means he has "utterly appalling" handwriting might have been a bit of a hindrance to Napier teen Louis Daysh, but is proving no barrier to high achievement.

Louis, soon to turn 18, is in his final year at Lindisfarne College and plans to attend Victoria University next year to study law and political science.

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Getting your life back on track after disability

4 November 2016

Anthony Wright overcame countless obstacles after having a brain tumour, and is now trying to help others find their path to recovery through writing and public speaking.

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Richard Branson Supports People With Disabilities -- Here Are Six Ways You Can Do It, Too

1 November 2016

Today marks the last day of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), a campaign led by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy to educate corporate America about disability employment issues, and to celebrate the contributions of America’s workers with disabilities.

But embracing disability awareness and inclusion is not just a matter of corporate social responsibility, or something to celebrate once a year: business leaders have a lot to gain by supporting disabled individuals, as demonstrated recently by Richard Branson, whose Virgin Group recently announced an investment in Auticon, a social enterprise that exclusively hires IT consultants who have autism.

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Phil O'Reilly: Employing the disabled can benefit us all

1 November 2016

Our Paralympic team arrived home from Rio last week with 21 well-earned medals and no doubt a sense of achievement like no other. For many of us sporting fans, the impact that these individuals, their physically disabilities aside, have had on our lives recently has been nothing but positive.

But how do we feel when it comes to thinking about the impact people with intellectual disabilities could have? They are less visible in society.

The truth is that people with intellectual disabilities are less likely than any other group to be employed. And yet it is precisely this - employment - that will enrich their lives as well as the lives of others.

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Work capability assessment overhaul for disabled

31 October 2016

The scheme that assesses claimants of disability benefits faces a major overhaul, following claims by a charity that it is "fundamentally flawed".

A consultation on reforming the Work Capability Assessment will be announced on Monday.
Ministers want claimants to be assessed in a more "targeted and personalised" way to help more people find jobs.

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Agencies beat five-year goal on disability hiring

28 October 2016

Government is hiring more people with disabilities now than at any other time within the past 35 years.

Federal employees with disabilities made up roughly 14.4 percent of the workforce — a total 264,844 people — in fiscal 2015, according to the Office of Personnel Management’s latest report on hiring individuals with disabilities in the federal government.

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what to know when you love someone with depression

27 October 2016

Depression is one of the most helpless and frustrating experiences a person can have. It’s sometimes feeling sad, sometimes feeling empty and sometimes feeling absolutely nothing at all. There are times when depression can leave someone feeling paralyzed in their own mind and body, unable to do the things they used to love to do or the things they know they should be doing. Depression is not just a bad day or a bad mood and it’s not something someone can just “get over.” Remember no one chooses to be depressed.

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Disability Rights Commissioner concerned about child safety

26 October 2016

The Disability Rights Commissioner remains concerned about child safety following revelations of eight schools using "seclusion" rooms to discipline children.

Christchurch's Halswell Residential College has confirmed it was in discussion with the Ministry of Education about its "safe room procedures", with a further meeting with the Ministry this Friday. It is unclear if Halswell is one of the eight schools as the Ministry has said it will not be naming them.

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For the disability community, tech is the great equalizer

25 October 2016

When it comes to technology, we're often obsessed with the latest and hottest gadget or app.

Here at CNET, where we breathlessly jump from writing about Apple's iPhone 7 one day to trying out Sony's PlayStation VR the next, we know all too well what it's like running on that hamster wheel.

What gets lost at times: the less conventional innovation happening on the periphery of the tech world. These are advances that may only help a small number of people, but they're the kinds of breakthroughs that can change lives.

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Why People Don't Believe I Have Social Anxiety

25 October 2016

Social anxiety doesn’t only make me unable to talk because I’m so afraid to say the wrong things. It’s deeper than that.

Now, it might seem to be an oxymoron to say, but I talk constantly. Let me tell you, I’ve heard that a million times. I’ve been told by friends, family and co-workers, “There is no way you have a social anxiety disorder. All you ever do it talk.” With them not knowing, all I ever do is worry about everything, including everyone’s opinions about me and my actions.

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12 steps to help adults with autism find the right job

24 October 2016

In celebration of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, Autism Speaks is sharing 12 steps to help young adults and adults with autism find employment. Below is adapted from Autism Speaks Employment Tool Kit, a guide to help people with autism research, find and keep employment in the current, competitive labor market. Stories, tips and resources were developed from a collaboration of people, including adults with autism, dedicated to increasing the employment participation of adults on the spectrum.

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How to Be Friends With Someone Who's Depressed

20 October 2016

In our overly connected society, we may often confuse connectivity with connection — human connection that is. Commenting, texting, reposting and retweeting have become substitutes for communication, and we often erroneously use these to gauge the status of a relationship. That can be dangerous, because the truth is so much gets overlooked when scrolling through our feeds. Sometimes it’s either way too apparent that a friend has depression or anxiety and we are quick to catalogue them as “dark.” Other times, our friends become experts at curating their lives to showcase a surreal perfection, and it can be way too easy for us to believe they are alright.

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Don’t discount the diversity dividend

17 October 2016

We tend to hear the word ‘diversity’ and think of political correctness, quotas or ‘social awareness’. It’s a term potentially covering difference in gender, culture, age, sexuality and language.

When we look at increasing the diversity of a company board, or its senior management, we too often adopt a yawn-inducing tone of obligation. Like it’s about a moral decision rather than a business one.

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More than half of workers stay silent about mental health issues

13 October 2016

More than half of employees who have taken time off work due to mental health issues feel uncomfortable speaking to their line manager about the real reason for their absence, according to independent research.

The survey of nearly 2,000 working adults across the country by health and wellbeing company Westfield Health found that 21% of workers feel admitting the real reason for their absence would have a negative effect on their career.

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Bullying Can Result in Aggressive Response by Children with Disability

12 October 2016

Study finds children with disabilities more likely to respond aggressively when they are bullied, not only to their bullies but to other children as well.

Quote: "Because students with disabilities often lack age-appropriate social and communication skills, they may act out aggressively as a response to being bullied, Rose said."

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Our Mental Health System: Let’s have a sensible discussion

11 October 2016

As always when discussing an integral aspect of human life, there are often a lot of voices saying things for reasons that are not clear, or which are aimed at achieving unknown outcomes. For the sake of clarity I am writing this as a person who uses mental health services, whose work includes the mental health system, and who stays up to date on developments in knowledge and practice. I believe our mental health system is long overdue for examination and change, I know that the framework for this already exists, and I know that our mental health workers of all job titles are already working to do things differently.

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What does work mean to someone with a learning disability?

10 October 2016

Two weeks ago a man with learning disabilities was dismissed from his position as a trolley boy at Bunnings for taking a bottle of drink he thought was "nobody's".

Seaton Clark, 46, had worked at the shop in Shirley, Christchurch for seven years and now watches TV all day and is "very bored".

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September Newsletter

7 October 2016

The September newsletter is out

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How a suicide changed my understanding of leadership.

7 October 2016

In one form or another, I've managed teams for the better part of two decades. I have nurtured them, discovered some hidden talents, been a mentor, a teacher and where necessary, I've had to let some go in an entirely different direction.

But this wasn't always me.

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Disability and fashion: inclusive catwalk breaking boundries

7 October 2016

Last month Disability Horizons’ fashion guru Alicia Searcy, also known as the Spashionista, ran Nashville’s first ever inclusive fashion show with models of all abilities. She was making a point – that disabled people are no different to anyone else when it comes to fashion.

Fashion is for everybody

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Supporting students with autism in the classroom: what teachers need to know

6 October 2016

Students with autism often present unique challenges to schools, and teachers can often find it difficult to meet their needs effectively.

Internationally, around 1 in 68 children are now diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). ASD is a developmental disability that can cause significant social communication and behavioural challenges.

A recent study found that among the 934 parents who were surveyed, approximately 77% had children on the spectrum attending mainstream schools.

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Change our focus to abilities, not disability, and barriers will fall

6 October 2016

I have had cerebral palsy since I was a few weeks old. I have never been able to walk which isn't ideal but it does not necessarily need to make me disabled. When I interact online, people are quick to point out my skills and compliment me, even going so far as offering me a job.

Then I drop the bombshell and everything changes. People start apologising to me for sharing their problems since mine is so much "bigger"; they assure me that it makes no difference missing the irony that if it made no difference they wouldn't be apologising to me. That being in a wheelchair would not matter.

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Paralympic success challenges China’s attitude to disability

5 October 2016

After what was by Chinese standards an underwhelming performance at the Olympics, the response to swimmers Huang Wenpan and Xu Qing taking five and three gold medals each at the Paralympics in Rio was one of wild celebration.

A disabled child is often considered a shameful secret to be hidden in many families, but the success of the Paralympics team, winning 107 gold, 81 silver and 51 bronze medals, has significantly raised the profile of disability issues in China.

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Keith Lamont Scott’s Disability May Have Gotten Him Killed, And He’s Not The Only One

3 October 2016

Last week in Charlotte, North Carolina, police shot and killed Keith Lamont Scott, a Black man with a disability. This happens with gut-wrenching frequency. It happened again this week in El Cajon, California, where police shot and killed Alfred Olango, a Black man with mental illness. Yet disability is often overlooked as a factor in police killings and use of force.

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NZ dementia sector backs need for national plan

21 September 2016

New Zealand dementia organisations have just released an action plan to help New Zealand prepare for the expected increase in the numbers of people with dementia.

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Sophie Pascoe - What a legend

14 September 2016

Sophie Pascoe, New Zealand's most successful Paralympian, has also achieved her overarching goal - to gain mainstream respect for Paralympic sports.

The Christchurch champion was just nine when she sat on the edge of her beloved "Gragra's" bed and promised her dying grandfather John Goodman she would win a Paralympics gold medal in his honour.

Now she has nine of them - with one race to go in Rio where she has already won three titles three days in a row

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Tragedy 'waiting to happen

30 August 2016

• Disability head exposes "crisis" in the sector due to alleged underfunding

• Predicts providers' struggles to manage volatile situations will end in tragedy

• Labels circumstances "chillingly similar" to failings which sparked review

• Documents show ministry pulling back on some disability supports

Disability bosses have warned the Government their sector is in crisis, with systemic underfunding giving rise to volatile situations they predict will end in tragedy.

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One of "Our People", Steff Green

25 August 2016

Her books are selling by the virtual truckload and her weddings are the stuff of legend.

Auckland-based Stephanie Green has had an incredible year becoming a USA Today bestselling author and finding a growing demand for her alternative wedding services.

A fascination for the historical and mythical saw her training as an archeologist working on sites overseas including one in Greece.

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Let the Games commence!

24 August 2016

2016 Rio de Janeiro Paralympic Games Will Take Place as Planned - International Paralympic Committee

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has announced that September's Paralympic Games will take place as planned, despite major budget cuts, and will act as a catalyst to positive social change in Brazil and Latin America.

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Becoming Disabled

22 August 2016

Not long ago, a good friend of mine said something revealing to me: “I don’t think of you as disabled,” she confessed.

I knew exactly what she meant; I didn’t think of myself as disabled until a few decades ago, either, even though my two arms have been pretty significantly asymmetrical and different from most everybody else’s my whole life.

My friend’s comment was meant as a compliment, but followed a familiar logic — one that African-Americans have noted when their well-meaning white friends have tried to erase the complications of racial identity by saying, “I don’t think of you as black,” or when a man compliments a woman by saying that he thinks of her as “just one of the guys.”

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What it feels like to have an ‘invisible’ disability

22 August 2016

Living with an ‘invisible’ disability is not easy, especially when it comes to using disabled facilities.
I was diagnosed with a bowel disease when I was 18 and had just enrolled at university.

When I heard the words ulcerative colitis for the first time, what I actually heard was, ‘wave bye bye to your social life’.

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August Possibility Newsletter is out!!

17 August 2016

Welcome to this month's edition of Possibility, concentrating on disability employment. Please share this with all your networks and encourage them to subscribe to our newsletters themselves - many people share this with their networks but if they move on, the connection will be lost.

In this Edition:-

EmployAbility launched by Minister Wagner
Our People - Paul Curry and Wendy Neilson
NZDSN Conference Next Week
​Wheelchair Makes Beach Accessible
TED Talk - Elise Roy Design Thinker
Contact us

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Why Disability Employment = Good Business

1 August 2016

In case you missed it, this week marked the 26th anniversary for one of the USA's landmark civil rights laws, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA).

All savvy employers should know by now that providing equal opportunities to people with disabilities simply makes good business sense in the 21st century economy. However, it appears that some CEOs and executive leaders within corporate America still haven’t gotten the message. Ditto that for mid-sized and smaller companies.

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Second round of consultation for new disability strategy

26 July 2016

Have your say!

Disability Issues Minister Nicky Wagner is encouraging New Zealanders to give feedback on the first draft of the disability strategy as the second round of public consultation begins.

“The current Disability Strategy was released in 2001. Since then there have been fundamental shifts in the way New Zealand, and the world, look at disability. That is why we’re building a new disability strategy,” Ms Wagner says.

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Service Dog Case Headed To Supreme Court

13 July 2016

This is dreadful, and an indictment on both the school and the legal system in the US. The Rotary Club that I belong to, has as its key sponsorship "Mobility Dogs" which is a fantastic organisation. Disability Scoop reports: -

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court said late last month that it will consider the case of a 12-year-old Jackson, Mich., girl with cerebral palsy and a goldendoodle named Wonder, deciding whether Ehlena Fry’s family can sue for damages from a school district that balked at the service dog’s presence in the classroom.

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The power of social media for disabled people

13 July 2016

Unfortunately this will be the main incentive for businesses to change their recruitment and retention practises...

There have never been so many different ways to influence decision-making at all levels of society. Social media allows disabled consumers to have a direct conversation with brands and companies. They are taking notice. Scope tells us more about some of the success stories, and how you too can make a difference.

Manchester United

Martin Emery is a life-long Manchester United fan and a father to three sons. Zac who is five years old, Ethan who is seven and Jordan who is now 18. Jordan has a number of medical conditions, which means he has learning difficulties, has many seizures a day and uses a wheelchair.

Read more


12 July 2016

Summer Internship with the Office of the Government Accountant (The Treasury).

The Office of the Government Accountant, or OGA, was set up within Treasury to support agencies (across the state sector) to uplift strategic financial management capability. The importance of maximising public value and value for money to ensure that we are delivering public goods and publicly-funded services efficiently and effectively to New Zealanders has never been more critical. Strategic financial management is about allocating resources to where they are most effective and managing the efficiency of those resources once they are allocated. There are a number of ways that we are supporting agencies to do this, to find out more why don't you come and join us.

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Blind people’s smart ass answers to stupid questions from sighted people

7 July 2016

These have been around a while, but I bet the same questions still get asked....

Yes, I know. You all expect us to be polite and forthcoming when you ask us one of those typical stupid questions. Surprisingly enough, there are times when some of us would like our privacy and space to remain uninvaded. I have here, free for circulation, some useful smart ass answers to those stupid questions sighted people ask blind people. These are to be saved for those inopportune times when blind people find themselves trapped on a bus, train, aircraft, or when attempting to eat a quiet meal in a restaurant etc.

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Redefining Disability

1 July 2016

Disability has always been my least favorite word in the English language. It’s the word that catches in my throat and forces my pen to pause midthought.

I can easily apply this term of difference, of alienation to others. As a human-rights advocate, I routinely argue that someone has a right to protection on the basis of disability. Phrases like “legal capacity” and “reasonable accommodation” are a standard part of my iPhone’s autocorrect. Applying the word to myself is more complicated.

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June Possibility Newsletter is out!!

23 June 2016

Possibility June 2016

Welcome to this month's edition of Possibility, concentrating on disability employment. Please share this with all your networks and encourage them to subscribe to our newsletters themselves!!

In this Edition:-

Robert Martin Joins the United Nations
"Finding Dory" and Disability
Health and Safety Common Sense
Cartoons: The Disabled Life
​Profile - Natalie Brunzel
Contact us

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Open Captions: The Last Frontier in Accessibility

22 June 2016

Accessibility is on the radar of many organisations, and rightly so.

Legislation mandates that public transport, premises and education must be accessible for all, including people with disability. However, what we often see provided is just the minimum required to achieve compliance. Accessibility has, in some ways, become a ‘compliance’ issue.

Inclusive design and universal design go beyond accessibility minimum requirements and attempt to provide environments, products and services that cater for everyone’s own unique abilities. One accessibility area that is constantly overlooked is captioning and audio descriptions in media.

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"Finding Dory" shatters stereotypes about disabilities

22 June 2016

This is a great way to explain disability to younger kids that disability is actually a norm if one in four people have a disability of some kind!

"Finding Dory" is not only shattering box office records. Some say the latest Disney Pixar movie is also breaking down stereotypes about the disabled, reports CBS News correspondent Reena Ninan.

That's thanks in part to the lovable but forgetful title character, Dory, who has suffered from short-term memory loss since she was a baby.

"She has a brain that works a little bit differently than everyone else's, but it also allows her to make connections that other people wouldn't, or see other things that other people might miss," said Washington Post columnist Alyssa Rosenberg.

Read more

The May Possibility Newsletter is out

10 May 2016

Welcome to this month's edition of Possibility, concentrating on disability employment. Please share this with all your networks and encourage them to subscribe to our newsletters themselves!!

In this edition:-

Profile - Ryan Keen
Available Now - Natalie Brunzel
We are on Facebook
​LEAD Toolkit for Employment
Sign Language Week 9th - 15th May

Read more

New Zealand Sign Language Week

4 May 2016

New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) Week (May 9-15) is here again, and Deaf Aotearoa is planning the biggest celebration yet! This year marks 10 years of NZSL Week and 10 years since NZSL became an official language of New Zealand.

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Facebook's first blind engineer is revolutionizing social media as we know it

7 April 2016

Halfway through Matt King’s presentation, the screen goes dark.

It’s the kind of glitch that might make a man sweat in front of the audience. But this is no glitch. King has done it deliberately to bring us into his world, however disorienting it might be for the rest of the room.

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Rising to the challenge

31 March 2016

Answering the phone and not knowing what kind of customer
query you’ll be dealing with may seem daunting to some, but
Jenny Rickit is thriving on the challenge.

After being unemployed for almost
two years, Blind Foundation client
Jenny is now working in an ANZ call
centre, dealing with customer calls
about internet banking.

Read more

Father inspired by blind children, urges businesses to employ people with disabilities

31 March 2016

Adrian Coysh wants to inspire disabled people to seek a meaningful career and businesses to see the potential of hiring people with disabilities by understanding their capabilities. Adrian began his venture when learning his three children had Retinitis Pigmentosa and were slowly going blind.

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Local hero turned ambassador for disability sufferers

30 March 2016

Waikato's local hero is helping disabled people get into work.

Kiwibank Local Hero of the Year award winner, Selwyn Cook is the new Workbridge employer ambassador - a role created by Workbridge, a specialist employment service agency, in partnership with Z Energy.

Cook's role is to help employers across New Zealand create opportunities for people with disabilities.

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Employment law in Japan: 10 surprising facts

18 March 2016

The traditional Japanese idea of “lifetime employment”, with a full-time employee working for the same employer until retirement, has been eroded in recent years. What does the Japanese employment relationship look like in 2016? Sarah Anderson highlights 10 notable facts for global employers that have an interest in the third-largest economy in the world.

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Gerri Pomeroy – Hamilton citizen and barrier-free advocate

18 March 2016

Gerri Pomeroy doesn’t let her disability take up her whole life, “I’d rather be spending my time and energy on things to benefit my community”.

As a lifelong resident of Hamilton, Gerri has been doing just that. Since becoming a wheelchair user in 2006, Gerri has been part of a group that’s pioneered a way for local bodies to improve the accessibility of their transport systems. She’s also currently the president of the Disabled Persons Assembly local Waikato branch and a member of the national executive, she’s an alumni of the Be. Accessible leadership programme, and she’s part of the leadership group that’s overseeing the Enabling Good Lives demonstration in Waikato.

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Possibility Newsletter February 2016

3 March 2016

Welcome to this month's edition of Possibility, concentrating on disability employment. Please share this with all your networks and encourage them to subscribe to our newsletters themselves!!

In this edition:-

Profile - John Delores
Profile - Aleesha Kostyrko-Jones
We are on Facebook!!
To hire or not to hire a disabled person
Her Royal Highness Catherine becomes editor of Huffington Post
An HRC guide to "reasonable accommodation"

Read more

Audazzle: computer games for blind and visually impaired people

26 February 2016

After his daughter Daisy became blind from eye cancer, Selwyn Lloyd wanted to develop something that would enable her, and other visually impaired children, to interact and have fun with their sighted peers. With his wife Marie and two business school classmates, he founded Audazzle in April 2014, a company that creates inclusive computer games for blind and visually impaired people using 3D sound.

Read more

Bringing diversity to ‘the last bastions of white male-dominated business’

24 November 2015

Simpson Grierson, one of New Zealand’s leading commercial law firms, has over 330 employees in offices around the country.

At the recent NZAGE Awards, the firm was awarded in two categories: Best Graduate Recruitment Print Campaign in New Zealand, and Best Diversity Strategy.

But with hundreds of staff members based in various cities, how exactly has Simpson Grierson managed to create and maintain an award-winning diversity strategy?

Read more

9 Sneaky Causes Of Depression

13 November 2015

For some people, sub-zero temperatures aren't the only difficult side effect of winter. Approximately 10 million Americans also experience seasonal affective disorder, a depression-related mental health condition that waxes and wanes depending on the time of year.

Read more

A moving Blog from LinkedIn

13 November 2015

Until the age of 12, I always had this idea that I would wake up one day and my disability would be gone. It’s funny how a young mind works. My family never really talked about the fact that cerebral palsy (CP), usually caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain at birth, would have a lifelong impact on me. We viewed CP as a normal part of life: an additional consideration, not a limitation.

Read more

Five Things I Wish People Understood About Being Legally Blind

10 November 2015

When you encounter me going about my daily life, you probably notice two things right a way. I’m either traveling with the help of a canine or using a long white cane — and I can see.

Read more

We are investing in the wrong diversity initiatives

5 November 2015

Initiatives such as name-blind recruitment and women on boards don't address underlying diversity issues

Read more

NZ Diversity Consultant Named Top 10 Globally

3 November 2015

NZ Diversity Consultant named Top 10 in first ever Global Diversity List

Diversity New Zealand Ltd's Managing Director has been named one of the Top 10 diversity consultants in the inaugural Global Diversity List. Philip Patston was recognised in the first ever assessment of the world’s leading authorities on diversity announced on Saturday 31 October 2015.

The Global Diversity List, a comprehensive guide to the individuals who are putting diversity at the heart of human resources within the world’s biggest organisations, is supported by The Economist and was launched at their offices in both London and New York.

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HRINZ Diversity and Inclusion Special Interest Group

2 November 2015

HRINZ Diversity and Inclusion Special Interest Group

Organisational Diversity

Presented by Sina Wendt-Moore and Rukumoana Schaafhausen

Organisational diversity comes in many forms. Two increasingly predominate areas of focus have been gender and ethnicity. However, rarely to we see organisations focussing on these areas together. How can we develop female leaders from ethnically diverse communities to accelerate the diversity perspective, when it is difficult to get enough women into leadership roles without considering if they are in a cultural minority group?

Read more

'Star Trek' specs helping blind to see

2 November 2015

Blind people can now effectively 'see' thanks to a brilliant new invention - glasses that tell wearers what they are looking at.

The glasses, which contain tiny cameras, can identify everything from shop doorways to the contents of a fridge - giving a verbal commentary through a phone app and earpiece.

Read more

ANZ is banking on accessibility and diversity

31 October 2015

ANZ is employing and supporting staff with disabilities and says it is reaping the benefits of a workforce with incredible problem-solving skills.

The bank was nominated by The Blind Foundation and has been selected as a finalist in the ACC Employer Award category in the 2015 Attitude Awards. The national awards celebrate the excellence and achievements of Kiwis living with disabilities.

ANZ is committed to increasing the diversity of its workforce across New Zealand through consistent efforts to making employment accessible for people with disabilities. Since October 2014, ANZ has hired employees with a wide range of disabilities, including people with mobility, hearing and vision impairments, injuries, mental illness and epilepsy.

Read more

Shortage in skilled workers creating more jobs than candidates

29 October 2015

So no time is better than now to look at people you have previously ignored, like the disabled, immigrants, older workers etc.....

Read more

Breaking Bad star holds guest talk on disability in Australia

12 October 2015

"People with disabilities, they don't care about being treated special or unique or anything, they just want a chance to work, to have a career and to live their life without limitation," he told AAP.

"Some people look at disability as a weakness, an illness, something that needs to be cured. And that's not true. To me, a disability is knowledge, it's power.

Read more

Lincoln man jailed after Staffies maul guide dog in city centre

7 October 2015

A Lincoln man has been jailed for 18 weeks after two Staffordshire Bull Terrier dogs he was in charge of attacked a guide dog.

Leslie Stone, 39, was on St Mary’s Street in Lincoln city centre on May 22 in control of the two dogs when they lashed out at a golden Labrador with its visually impaired owner.

Read more

Viewpoint: Is it time to stop using the word "disability"?

1 October 2015

After running a campaign to urge toy manufacturers to include disabled characters in their collections, Rebecca Atkinson started to wonder if the word "disability" might also need a positive makeover.

Cripple, deaf-mute and lame all fell out of favour a long time ago and are now considered insults. By the 1980s and 90s "handicapped" was gradually replaced with "disabled" as a new way of thinking about disability emerged - called the social model. Attitudes change and as a consequence so does language

Read more

Expressions of Interest

30 September 2015

The Disabled Persons Assembly (DPA) is calling for expressions of interest from people with lived experience of disability to potentially become co-educators for a unique education programme.

Read more

Disability and University study

30 September 2015

Going away to university for the first time can be daunting for everyone. But if you also have a disability and are leaving home, there can be additional factors to get nervous about – so it’s worth taking a little extra time to prepare.

Read more

Diversity and Inclusion: a Huffington Post blog

17 September 2015

Much has been made of this HR catch phrase or its acronym D & I, the HR buzz words of the moment. However, the words are not mutually exclusive and belong together - more importantly; without the latter, the former will never be successful.

It is pointless hiring someone to add to the business's Diversity, only for them to fail. In fact, the business was better off doing nothing at all, as the person, having left the business confused, bitter and potentially traumatized will go back to their community and report that the business did not understand their needs.

Read more

September Newsletter

16 September 2015

Possibility September 2015

Welcome to this month's edition of Possibility. Please share this with all your networks and encourage them to subscribe to our newsletters themselves!!

In this edition:-

• Gaye Austin - Story by Adrian Coysh
• Diversity and Inclusion blog
• Technology update
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German charity Discovering Hands trains blind women in cancer detection

6 September 2015

Berlin, Germany: The technique is called a "dance"; a gentle one-two-three waltz of the tips of Steffi Gedenk's fingers across the patient's breasts, her clavicle and, eventually, her armpits.

The pace is slow, the conversation is gentle. Often – surprisingly, in a clinic devoted to cancer detection – there is the sound of women laughing together.

Women are employed not despite their disability, but because of their capability.

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Huffington Post Blog 28/7/15 by Adrian Coysh

4 September 2015

The Great New Zealand Experiment

Recently I stumbled upon a post by Sarah Blahovec, which was a cry for help from a disability activist from the USA. It drew me to look at the new Accessibility section of the venerable Huffington Post, and it occurred to me that I should share a little of the work we are doing in New Zealand, and my personal journey.

NZ is a fantastic place to test new stuff, whether it be banking and finance systems, Telco services or whatever. We are a small nation (only 4.5 million people spread over an area slightly larger than Great Britain), tech savvy, isolated, and egalitarian - the first country in the world to allow women to vote! We were the last country in the world to be colonised by a European nation in the early nineteenth century, so we are not ingrained in tradition apart from a huge Maori influence who had lived there 800 years before they were "discovered".

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Employees with disabilities outperform co-workers: survey

2 September 2015

Yet another article detailing the economic value of hiring people with disabilities!

Employees with disabilities outperform co-workers: survey

Hiring a person with a disability is good for business.

People with disabilities have the qualifications, skills and experience businesses are looking for. What they need is opportunity — the opportunity to help B.C. businesses innovate, stay competitive and reach new customers and clients.

This September is B.C.’s 2nd annual Disability Employment Month. It’s a chance to celebrate the contribution people with disabilities bring to the workplace and recognize the many inclusive employers around the province.

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Diversity Awards 2015: Getting Better by Diversity

30 August 2015

It is great to see the winners in the EEO Diversity Awards, particularly those who are already working with us in the Disability space! Congratulations to all.

Getting Better by Diversity

For the 18th year in a row the Equal Employment Opportunities Trust is once again proud to celebrate the fantastic organisations across New Zealand who are leading the way in workplace diversity. EEO Trust Chief Executive Bev Cassidy-Mackenzie says that the continued and measurable increase in the number and quality of entries, is a positive reflection of how much the diversity landscape has changed in recent years.

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Possibility Newsletter August 2015

26 August 2015

Here is the August Possibility Newsletter. We hope that you learn and enjoy!

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More cash for rural mental health

24 August 2015

Up to 100 extra people will be trained to help Kiwi farming families access the mental health support they need.

The commitment is the first part of the one-off $500,000 funding boost for mental health initiatives targeted at rural communities, announced by the Health Minister Johnathan Coleman and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy at the National Fieldays in June.

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Blind Foundation Road Show

24 August 2015

The 2015 Blind Foundation Engagement Roadshows will soon be coming to a town near you.

Board Chair Rick Hoskin, Board Directors, Chief Executive Sandra Budd and members of the Executive will bring you the Strategic Plan and together we’ll talk about how we, as an organisation, bring it to life.

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Game-changers and sporting special moments

17 August 2015

A great blog on Public Address by Paul Gibson, Disability Rights Commissioner

The New Zealand Paralympics swimming team is returning home with a haul of medals. Sophie Pascoe and Mary Fischer have a bucket each and this is of course a fantastic achievement. These two and other athletes that compete with a disability are game-changers. They break down stereotypes of what living with a disability means and they also make us proud as a nation.

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Possibility Newsletter July 2015

11 August 2015

Here is the July 2015 Newsletter. Apologies, for some obscure reason this was not attached to this news site!

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Why is so much of the internet still inaccessible to disabled people?

4 August 2015

Twenty-five years ago, George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) into law. It was a landmark piece of civil rights legislation for the disabled community, mandating equal treatment and providing for a wide range of protections. But it contained one big loophole: the internet.

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Why Disability Employment = Good Business (Part I of II)

27 July 2015

A blog by David B. Grinberg from LinkIn

All savvy employers should know by now that providing equal opportunities to people with disabilities simply makes good business sense in the 21st century economy. However, it appears that some executives, managers and leaders within corporate America still haven’t gotten the message.

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HR presumptions about illness cause $170k discrimination bill

20 July 2015

An interesting article from HR Daily, Australia. Epic HR fail.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, states that you have to make "Reasonable Accommodation" which means "necessary and appropriate modification and adjustments not imposing a disproportionate or undue burden, where needed in a particular case, to ensure to persons with disabilities the enjoyment or exercise on an equal basis with others of all human rights and fundamental freedoms";

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People with disabilities deserve the dignity of a job

13 July 2015

An American article, but some good points to note.....It’s the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Architecture has changed for the better, but attitudes and opportunities have not.

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Inspired by partially deaf son, mom designs awesome hearing-aids for kids

10 July 2015

When Sarah Ivermee realized what a difference a hearing aid made in the life of her partially deaf son, Freddie, she set out to get other children excited about wearing one.

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Whakamomori: Raw, open and honest

3 July 2015

Check out this post from Russell Brown's Hard News:

This week’s Media Take looks at Target Zero, the documentary that follows Mike King as he travels around the country talking to young people about depression and suicide. The documentary has been something of a phenomenon for Maori Television since it screened two weeks ago, with a flood of on-demand views both within and outside New Zealand.

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Employing disabled individuals "makes commercial sense"

3 July 2015

Creating better employment opportunities for disabled individuals could play a key role in tackling skills shortages, the new disability minister Justin Tomlinson said at a talk as part of the government’s Disability Confident campaign.

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New Zealand a world leader on disability issues

17 June 2015

Press Release by Disability Issues Minister Nicky Wagner says the release of the Government response to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities reaffirms New Zealand’s position as a world leader on disability issues.

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Reasonable Accommodation: A misunderstood concept

11 June 2015

No doubt it isn't easy for employers to keep up with what appears to be a never-ending list of legal requirements. It seems laws impacting employers are always changing. But there's one law that has been in place for decades yet many employees seem to have difficulty understanding and complying with this law.

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Not For Profit Grants to Create Disability Jobs

5 June 2015

A great initiative from Australia where....grants of up to $150,000 are being offered to charities in a bid to create innovative employment opportunities for young people with disability

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Possibility Newsletter - May 2015

22 May 2015

Welcome to our first edition of the Possibility newsletter. The team at JobCafe are dedicated to opening up more opportunities for people with disabilities, whether they are looking for their first job or their next senior appointment.

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How talented people with Asperger’s are locked out of the career system

22 May 2015

Having meaningful work which plays to strengths is desirable for most people.

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JobCafe launches "Possibility"

21 May 2015

Welcome to our first edition of the Possibility newsletter. The team at JobCafe are dedicated to opening up more opportunities for people with disabilities, whether they are looking for their first job or their next senior appointment.

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Blind pole vaulter Charlotte Brown wins state championships bronze

18 May 2015

A blind pole vaulter has realised her dream by winning a bronze medal in the Texas state high school championships.

Teenager Charlotte Brown cleared 3.5m and was joined on the podium in Austin by her guide dog Vador.

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Jobs need for people striving to be ordinary

2 May 2015

Findings of the Disabled Person's Assembly "have your say" workshop in the Bay of Plenty was that the number one issue for the group was to have meaningful work.

"They didn't want to be treated as special, or classified as special needs, they just wanted to be able to participate in society and have the same equal opportunities and human rights as everybody else."

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Blind medical student earns MD..

18 April 2015

The young medical student was nervous as he slid the soft, thin tube down into the patient’s windpipe. It was a delicate maneuver — and he knew he had to get it right.

Tim Cordes leaned over the patient as his professor and a team of others closely monitored his every step. Carefully, he positioned the tube, waiting for the special signal that oxygen was flowing.

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Jenn Hearn: What I wish the hearing world could understand about deaf people

17 April 2015

As a small child at a mainstream hearing school, I remember sitting around the lunch table while my hearing peers told stories. I could not follow what was being said, so I just laughed when they laughed and frowned when they did.

After years of speech therapy, I still felt totally isolated. Even then I knew that it was not fair that I had to work so hard to learn to speak like a hearing person, only to be isolated by my deafness in social settings.

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Microsoft looks to add more autistic workers

10 April 2015

Microsoft is looking to recruit yet another type of diverse employee: The Redmond, Washington-based technology giant is piloting a program focused on hiring people with autism for full-time positions in the company's headquarters.

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Workplace diversity - Murray Long, Murray Long Builders

9 April 2015

How diversity in a small construction business helps build their capability. Welcoming a team member who is deaf was a team decision, and one that has offered an opportunity to someone who would otherwise not be given a chance. Bringing him aboard allowed them to discover that each of them in their own way has their own diverse way of thinking, based upon their personality and upbringing.

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