The lack of culturally appropriate services contributes to the low participation rate of Indigenous people in disability services. Understanding how disability is conceptualised is essential to developing culturally appropriate disability services. This study aimed to critically compare the conceptualisation of disability between Indigenous people and NSW government and non-government disability service agencies. Indigenous and policy sources were obtained from purposive and snowball sampling. The Indigenous conceptualisation of disability was understood through representations by Indigenous spokespeople in journal and newspaper articles and audiovisual materials. The disability service agency conceptualisation of disability was represented through the annual reports and programme guidelines of the NSW government agency and seven non-government disability agencies. The occupational justice framework guided critical analysis at the cultural interface. Four themes were identified: power and self-determination, eligibility, otherness, and identity and labels. Data showed disability agencies promote self-determination for Indigenous people and conceptualise disability as impairments affecting functioning, when assessing service access eligibility. Most Indigenous people do not self-identify as disabled and are categorised as culturally different within policies. Indigenous people experience marginalisation due to their cultural identity. Indigenous people are required to conform to the conceptualisation of disability proffered by agencies to access services. To develop culturally appropriate services, agencies must collaborate with Indigenous communities.
SOURCE: Subahari Ravindran, Jennie Brentnall, John Gilroy (2017). Conceptualising disability: A critical comparison between Indigenous people in Australia and New South Wales disability service agencies. Australian Journal of Social Issues, 5 December 2017.
BROTHERHOOD STAFF – please contact the LIBRARY if you would like full text access to this article
OTHER USERS – see this LINK to publisher’s website
Produced by the librarians at the Brotherhood of St Laurence in Melbourne, Australia