Today is International Day of People with Disability, a United Nations sanctioned day which aims to promote an understanding of people with disability and encourage support for their dignity, rights and well-being. The day provides an opportunity for people to raise awareness; break down barriers and fight for an inclusive society for the 4 million Australians living with a disability.
This year’s theme is ‘Inclusion matters: access and empowerment for people of all abilities.’ This is a particularly apt theme in relation to MS because every case varies so widely in symptoms and severity and also while one day a person can be fine, the next they might lose their sight and be unable to move. It is the most common neurological condition affecting young adults in the prime of their lives – the 20s and 30s. Some of the more common symptoms such as cognitive impairment and loss of physical ability due to the interrupted communication between nerves and the brain can affect a person’s ability to perform meaningful work.
As the national peak organisation for people living with MS in Australia, we feel the theme lends itself well to a range of important issues for people living with the condition which we are focusing our advocacy and campaigning efforts on; these include making transport accessible for people living with MS; improving disability data and statistics so we can fully support people living with MS in Australia; raising awareness of the invisible symptoms of MS to highlight to employers and the general public how they might affect someone’s life whether at the workplace or at home.
In other news today, we welcome the announcement that the Commonwealth and Tasmanian governments agreed to roll out the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in Tasmania. From 1 July 2016, the NDIS will progressively roll out across Tasmania and people with disability across the state will begin to access the NDIS based on their age.
The NDIA and the Tasmanian Government will continue to deliver a range of information and activities to support people with disability, their families and carers, service providers and the community to get NDIS ready.
We are aware that there are many people living with MS who are still unaware of the services the NDIS provides and as to whether they will be able to register for the scheme. We would advise people that the NDIS offers range of support and encourage people to read our blog entitled ‘Talking to people with MS about the NDIS’ or visit the NDIS information section on the MS Limited website for more information.