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Lack of housing, exclusion, bullying hamper disabled youth

4 December 2013

Lack of housing, exclusion and bullying hamper disabled youth in Aotearoa New Zealand!

A report being launched at Parliament today has found the three major issues getting in the way of disabled youth achieving an ordinary life are: a lack of accessible and age appropriate housing; isolation and exclusion within the school system; and intimidation and bullying at school and beyond.

The report entitled, Disability Rights in Aotearoa New Zealand 2013: Youth, is being launched today, by the Minister for Disability Issues: Hon Tariana Turia, at a function in the Beehive. The report is the work of a group of disabled people’s organisations, led by disabled people and known as the New Zealand Convention Coalition Monitoring Group. The project team are themselves disabled people.

“The report provides us with an analysis of the individual experiences of disabled youth in Aotearoa New Zealand. It also explores various articles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, in light of those experiences”, said Mary Schnackenberg, coalition Chair.

Several of those youth who took part in the project reported very positive experiences involving: the use of technology; support from family and friends; good treatment from medical practitioners; and access to advice and information from disability and other service providers. However, others related negative experiences in those very same areas.

“Of the students still in school, many talked about the role of the teacher aide in class and reported a range of experiences. It was those who had teacher aides working with them at arm’s length who seemed happiest with the arrangement and reported good academic results. For a slightly older group of respondents who were not living with their parents, access to services was reported positively for most. However, finding accessible or suitable housing was a major barrier to many, especially if they wanted to move from their current accommodation. Being stared at, being asked intrusive questions and being the recipient of unwanted offers of unnecessary help, were all frequently reported”, said Mary Schnackenberg today.

The report will be submitted to the New Zealand Government and later to the United Nations – as part of a larger report.


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