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Ben's Notes

This is my personal blog where I share thoughts, people that I meet and things that I learn. I hope that you'll join the conversation.

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  • Writer's pictureBen Farinazzo

Not all Disabilities are Visible

This week we celebrate International Day of People with Disability on Thursday 3 Dec 20. The theme ‘Not all Disabilities are Visible’ shines a light on an estimated 450 million people worldwide who have disabilities which are not immediately apparent, such as mental illness, chronic pain or fatigue, sight or hearing impairments, among others.

In the lead up to this year’s International Day of People with Disability, the Department of Defence is preparing to release a Defence Virtual Event via internal intranet that provides resources and information to support people with disability and their supervisors.

I was invited to join Catherine Winter, Australian Network on Disability to participate in a Q&A session hosted by the Diversity and Inclusion team, Culture, People & Development Branch, Defence People Group.

I must say that I love the ‘no expense spared’ audiovisual setup aka iPad on Fragile Box.

Summary of Key Points

Key points from our discussion:

  • International Day of People with Disability is an important day to increase awareness, acceptance and accessibility for all Australians.

  • There are many types of disability, mental and physical, temporary and permanent, visible or hidden that may have a minimal or substantial impact on a person’s abilities.

  • My disabilities remind me of my humanity and the fragility of life. It has challenged me to find new ways to express my purpose and experience joy. It has shown me that there are many people suffering across our communities and country.

  • This years theme is: Not all disabilities are visible. It covers a range of hidden mental and physical disabilities such as loss of hearing, chronic pain, amnesia, irritable bowel disease, brain injuries and anxiety.

  • The theme is particularly relevant at the moment in light of the increasing demand across our Lifeline call centres due to the impact of drought, bushfires and now Coronavirus. In addition, there is a significant impact around moral injury on many Australians following the release of the IGADF Afghanistan Inquiry findings.

  • It’s important to remember that you never really know what another person is experiencing. The key is to show respect, kindness and compassion to all.

  • If you have a disability, I would encourage you to keep showing up, keep fighting the good fight and reach out to your loved ones, friends and professionals.

  • If you are caring for someone with a disability God bless you and thank you for everything that you are doing. Stay strong, look after yourself and reach out if you need support.

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