10-year strategy will ensure a ‘fair go’ for children with additional needs
Children Young People with Disability (CYDA) CEO Mary Sayers has warmly welcomed the release of Australia’s Disability Strategy saying that it is “the most promising blueprint in Australia’s history” for ensuring children and young people with disability get a fair go.
“High-quality early childhood education sets children up with the foundations for success for educational inclusion and attainment, employment, and economic and social participation in their later life,” Ms Sayers said.
The strategy, which builds on the former 10-year National Disability Strategy, was officially unveiled on Friday, the International Day for People with Disability. The launch follows two years of consultation with local, state and federal governments, the disability sector and people with disability, their families and caregivers.
“Inclusion must begin from the earliest ages so we welcome the focus on access and participation of children with disability in early childhood education and care.”
“CYDA’s research shows that students who feel more accepted, included and involved in their schooling are more likely to be engaged in classroom learning, in extracurricular activities, in interpersonal relationships, and in the wider school community so it is great to see that building capacity for inclusive education is a key recommendation of the strategy,” Ms Sayers said.
CYDA was also complimentary of the targeted action to tackle systemic issues which have been identified by young people themselves around education and employment barriers which continue to prevent them from being able to actively participate and pursue the futures they want.
The direct needs of children and young people have been overshadowed in previous policy making decisions, Ms Sayers said, with other people speaking on their behalf.
“Having a consultation process provided a direct seat at the table where young people and caregivers have had a direct say,” Ms Sayers said.
The decision to do so heralds the start of a positive new era in government consultation and community attitudes to disability, she added.
“More than one in six people have disability and they face intersectional and compounding discrimination in our institutions, our systems and communities. Therefore, it is so important we get this right and have the commitment of all levels of government as well as the community.”
To access a copy of the strategy via the Disability Strategy Hub on the Disability Gateway website please see here.
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