What’s the rationale for Ability.news?
There are four interlinked ideas behind this site, but there’s absolutely no doubt about what’s most critical.
The mission we’ve given ourselves is simple. It’s “to advance the care and support of people with disability, specifically by creating a forum to enable the timely provision of relevant information to meet their needs.”
Unpack this and a number of simple ideas are apparent.
Firstly, and critically, this blog is for and about the needs of people with a disability. Ability.news aims to provide a forum that will eventually allow those involved in the National Disability Insurance Scheme, together with other people with a disability, to share information and provide support to one another.
But we’ve got to start somewhere and that’s the ACT, the first State or Territory to fully implement the NDIS. We hope to provide, effectively, a guide allowing the exchange of news and information to help people with a disability in the ACT live the best lives they can!
That’s our primary purpose:
“To create an electronic forum where people with a disability can interact and share information about their life experiences with other people.”
(Or, as our Purpose Statement puts it somewhat more formally, ‘Ability.news will use the internet to provide a safe, moderated, and free electronic forum arranging opportunities for people with a physical or mental disability can use to interact with others, in order to share experiences in relation to the NDIS and provide assistance and support to one another in this context’.)
Ability.news. is designed as a news site. You are busy with life, so we’re making it our job to connect you with the latest developments in the disability field so it’s easy for you to keep up to date with what’s happening. Our role is to share information about the NDIS and disability more generally.
But this site isn’t just for those with a disability. We’re here for everyone involved in the sector.
It might be that you’re a supporter or carer. Perhaps someone you love has had a sudden, terrible injury, or is changing with the slow progress of a terrible disease. You may be working as a disability support worker; as a professional therapist, or perhaps as a scientific researcher in this field. You may be a government worker or manager. The point is it doesn’t matter why or how you’ve come to be involved, but you need to know what’s going on in this sector and about disability issues more generally.
The NDIS is premised on a great idea. It’s predicated on creating a marketplace for disability care, an environment where everybody can search for and find a care package that’s just right for them. But any market needs to be informed if it’s to work effectively. That’s not the case at the moment. So let’s break down that huge ‘mission statement’ outlined above into a number of separate tasks. The first is obvious:
“To provide timely, relevant and comprehensive information about disability, care, and rehabilitation services, with a specific focus on the ACT.”
This is a bit broader, a bit more inclusive, a bit more general – but brought down to the ground with that final line’s focus on a specific geographic area. The key is to allow ability.news to keep developing and expanding, ensuring we remain relevant to your needs as time goes on. Our task is to keep the news and information flowing so as to make your involvement in this arena as easy and as successful as possible.
(There’s much more to this, of course, than what’s happening in the ACT, or even Australia. You need information about what’s happening at the cutting edge around the world if you want to remain informed about the latest treatments and options. Perhaps this best explains why we’ve chosen a slightly broader statement for our second purpose statement, or task; ‘Ability.news will use the internet to publish and disseminate the results of reports into the effectiveness of different treatment regimes for disability, including rehabilitation, care provision and the NDIS’.)
So how are we going to do it?
This blog will be the centerpiece of our activities. We’re starting off small, by providing news about disability. But we’ll expand to meet your needs and, as we do, this page will change to keep you informed about what’s coming next.
This is, however, only one part of the ‘how.’ The other element is (in the words of the old slogan) “nothing about us without us”. This is designed as a blog that’s not just about people with a disability, but also written by and contributed to by everybody that’s involved in the sector.
This leads on to our third task or purpose, which is allowing those who have something to say to say it. That’s why we’re seeking input from you, those involved in this community. In particular, ‘Ability.news will give preference wherever possible to providing work opportunities and experience in the media for people with a disability.’
Finally, the crucial idea that underpins everything we do: ensuring everyone can fulfill their lives in the most positive way possible.
Our charter expresses this more formally, but you’ll get the idea. ‘Abilitynews will use the internet with the purpose of promoting and protecting human rights by disseminating information and acting as an advocate for people with disabilities in relation to their rights under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.’
All too often, especially for people with a disability, the focus is on what can’t be done.
It’s hugely frustrating for someone who lives with incapacity every hour of every day. The last thing anyone needs is to be defined by what they can’t do.
By sharing news about the National Disability Insurance Scheme and what it’s like to live (with a disability) in the ACT today, we hope to become the central forum of an informed community. But that’s only the starting point.
The real key is to connect and empower everyone.
Enjoy the blog!
It’s for you.