Access by Various artists

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Access: I Can’t See You, But You Should See Me

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  • Russell Brown,

    Indeed I initiated some dialogue with the Editor of the New Zealand Herald, or at least attempted to, last year. My offer to write some pieces on disability issues apparently didn’t even warrant a reply, despite similar pieces being published in other countries.

    Well, I'm delighted to have you here.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Thank you Jonathan. Our lack of a place in important conversations has long frustrated me. Like you I have freely offered the expertise I have built to media editors and producers who simply don't bother engaging.

    I look forward to weaving some of our stories and understandings together here and getting them into other discussions where they need to be. An honour to share this platform with you.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Sacha,

    Thank you Jonathan. Our lack of a place in important conversations has long frustrated me. Like you I have freely offered the expertise I have built to media editors and producers who simply don’t bother engaging.

    And I've seen you do so politely and in an appropriate context, and get nothing.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Adrian Coysh,

    Thank you Jonathan. I have three children with Retinitis Pigmentosa, and could potentially all go blind. I am also in the recruitment business and Diversity is a buzz word for HR people, but they generally do not look beyond gender and ethnicity. Disability is just too hard and is largely ignored.

    45% of disabled people are unemployed and as you pointed out, 70% of visually impaired people are as well. Sadly, most of the employed are in non-skilled employment and the drop out rates at school of disabled children is also not good reading.

    I am on the Auckland Branch Committee of HRINZ, the professional body of HR people. I have just set up a new special interest group focused on Diversity and our first event is on May 1st, discussing Disability Employment. Our speakers are Mojo Mathers, our first deaf MP; Grant Cleland, CEO of Workbridge; and Minnie Baragwanath CEO of Be.Employed. The two latter agencies are involved in addressing unemployment issues by education and supplying disabled candidates to business.

    Google the event and come along, as I am not sure a hyperlink will work here.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2012 • 6 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Adrian Coysh,

    Nice meeting you recently, Adrian -- thanks for coming here.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Adrian Coysh,

    I am on the Auckland Branch Committee of HRINZ, the professional body of HR people. I have just set up a new special interest group focused on Diversity and our first event is on May 1st, discussing Disability Employment.

    Damn. I already have two things on on May 1. Perhaps Sacha can make it. Do the people at Elevator know about it already?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Jonathan Mosen, in reply to Adrian Coysh,

    Cheers Adrian, I'd certainly love to attend if there were a work-related excuse to leave the capital. I hope the event goes well, it sounds like an excellent initiative.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2014 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    I'm blind to a shitload of disability issues even though I have been involved with Paralympics.
    I hope, no, I want, these posts to open my eyes a whole lot more.

    It's been a great start!

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1590 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Adrian Coysh,

    Thanks Adrian. Direct link to the event here:
    http://www.hrinz.org.nz/tools/events/details.aspx?SECT=Auckland&ID=12359

    Not making any promises given my energy levels by that end of the day but I hope it goes well. Thank you for setting up that group.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Ross Mason,

    Cheers, Ross. There's so much to learn about disability that I'm amazed media producers don't see it as rich ground for stories. Really doesn't make sense.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • WaterDragon,

    Yes, Jonathan, indeed, it would be good to have substantive conversations on important issues of disability that affect us. Seems to me those "Why? " questions are the least well-answered of the questions about disability. Perhaps they're ultimately unanswerable.

    Behind you • Since Jul 2011 • 79 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Sacha,

    Cheers, Ross. There’s so much to learn about disability that I’m amazed media producers don’t see it as rich ground for stories. Really doesn’t make sense.

    What we have seen is increased visibility of disability in screen drama. The autistic-savant trope can be shallow, but programmes like Bones and The Big Bang Theory do at least introduce the concept that some people's experience of the world is profoundly different to others'. And the career of RJ Mitte, who played Walter White's son in Breaking Bad, is really interesting.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Pete B,

    Hi there Jonathan. Pete here from the good old Delphi days. Can you remember that far back? Just one thing you may not have caught up with yet. World being small, I ended up being married to someone that used to assist you personally in the past, especially in Invercargill - Karen. I'll join in with debates on your articles, and there will be certain topics that will be very close to my heart. Looking forward to your work and will keenly contribute with real world examples of how the blind, and those who volunteer to assist them, can work together. We actually ran into Amanda in Christchurch briefly some years ago and didn't have enough time, but I promised myself that if the chance presented itself, I would make sure that I do you the favour of catching up. Do let me know if you're up in Auckland sometime. Karen and Bonnie should catch up.

    Auckland • Since Apr 2014 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Yamis,

    I thought the article on Adam Pearson in the Guardian a few days ago was really interesting. He suffers from neurofibromatosis and played a part in a movie called Under the Skin. http://www.theguardian.com/film/2014/apr/13/scarlett-johansson-screen-stigma-disfigurement He's had a bloody hard time of it by the looks of it but has come through it like a champ.

    Since Nov 2006 • 903 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Yamis,

    He’s had a bloody hard time of it by the looks of it but has come through it like a champ.

    I read that and marvelled that anyone could be that well-adjusted. Great story.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Myles Thomas,

    Roll on public service broadcasting.

    Auckland • Since Apr 2011 • 130 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Myles Thomas,

    Roll on public service broadcasting.

    And now everyone can chip in.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Brent Jackson, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    I think your link should be this. You need the "http://" on the front of the website address.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 620 posts Report Reply

  • Brent Jackson,

    Note that Think Differently has some spaces available on 29th April in Christchurch for a free media training workshop "to make better use of the media to change attitudes and behaviour towards disabled people". (Also 4th June in Wellington).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 620 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Brent Jackson,

    Seems to be addressing the wrong end of the problem, frankly. Unless producers and editors believe disability is worth covering, training disability organisations and people won't make much difference.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Jonathan Mosen, in reply to Sacha,

    Agreed, I don't think we have a shortage of media-savvy disabled people. We have a press with almost no interest in ensuring our voices are heard and issues given appropriate coverage.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2014 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • Adrian Coysh, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Apologies for delayed response, like most of Auckland I went away for the Easter weekend. Thanks to Sacha and Russell for their comments (and the link Sacha, nice to have a techno person backing me up). I will write something about the event and the key points raised. Basically we need to put some friendly pressure on businesses to do better in providing work opportunities for disabled people.

    This is where social media can help - highlighting those businesses who have looked past gender and ethnicity as the full definition of Diversity. Many HR people have admitted to me that disability issues are just too hard and I get the feeling they are satisfied to be able to tick the Diversity Box in the easiest way possible.

    The disability dollar (influenced by social media), is the weapon that we all have and is a lot larger than the pink dollar. People with disabilities, and their family and friends make up a sizeable chunk of the population. Ignore that at your peril.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2012 • 6 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Adrian Coysh,

    People with disabilities, and their family and friends make up a sizeable chunk of the population

    Funny you should say that - see my latest post.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • oga,

    Whenever Blind are discussed in the NZ disability sector, I cannot help but be a little irritated when the subject of means-testing the blind is not mentioned. Blind are the only disability group in New Zealand to my knowledge to be able to earn a high salary AND receive a high disability benefit at the same time as working or studying. I could have done with that as a deaf person in NZ.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 47 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to oga,

    Firstly, great to see you here. Hope all is going well.

    Most people don't know that the separate Act of parliament governing the Foundation of the Blind means its members are allowed to keep receiving income support payments even if they work - unlike all other disabled people.

    When the last Labour government was designing the 'single core benefiit' system that they dropped as too hard, one stream of work was about income support for disabled people. It would actually have extended that same approach to all disabled people, recognising that we face some extra costs whether or not we are working.

    There didn't seem to be any appetite for going the other way and taking benefits from blind people just to level up the playing field. However, it's certainly an historic accident that has no rational basis.

    For me, an interesting broader issue is how much more prominent blind people are, given their low proportion of disabled New Zealanders.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

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