The Victorian State Disability Plan has a great introduction that includes language and terminology. It acknowledges there is no one right, or universal way to conceptualise disability. That’s because people perceive disability in culturally specific ways. Some people are proud to identify themselves as disabled, whereas others don’t want their disability to define them. Similarly, many autistic and neurodiverse people don’t see autism as a disability. They just see autism at a different way of interacting with the world. The State Disability Plan 2022-2026 is titled, Inclusive Victoria.
From the introduction
Here is a nicely worded section from the introduction on language:
“Language is a powerful tool for changing community attitudes,
promoting inclusion and fostering disability pride. Throughout
history, people with disability have fought for changes to
language that reflect their human rights. We know language
is always changing, and we recognise that words are powerful
and have different meaning for different people. We recognise
that people with disability have different preferences regarding
how they describe their disability.”
This introduction explains how language is used throughout the document. It highlights the real importance language plays in community attitudes towards people with disability. A good example for other government documents and policies that are based on a marginalised group.
The plan contains facts and figures about the prevalence of disability and other statistics. The international, national, state and local government obligations are laid out in a straightforward table format. The key elements of the plan are:
- Inclusive communities: Changing attitudes, transport, digital inclusion, sport and tourism.
- Health, housing and wellbeing: Health, mental health housing, NDIS, children and families.
- Fairness and Safety: Emergencies, advocacy, abuse and neglect, justice system, and gender identity.
- Opportunity and pride: Education, employment, voice and leadership, pride and recognition.
Most disability plans are action plans. This document includes systemic reform which should underpin actions and outcomes. The six systemic reforms are listed as:
- Co-design with people with disability
- Aboriginal self-determination
- Intersectional approaches
- Accessible communications and universal design
- Disability confident and inclusive workforces’
- Effective data and outcomes reporting
Inclusive Victoria is nicely presented with relatively plain language throughout.