Kelly urges people to look beyond disabilities

By Greg Mayfield, Port Pirie Recorder

Staff were gathered around Dignity Party MP Kelly Vincent in the courtyard of Mid North Education Centre for a lesson in … well, dignity.

The seven-year veteran of the Upper House in State Parliament was in her wheelchair discussing some local shortcomings of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Ms Vincent, 28, developed cerebral palsy after being born prematurely. She shared her views on how the world sees people who have disabilities.

“It is not the difference that is the problem, but the way society responds to that difference,” she said of the disparities.

“People make assumptions about what people can or cannot do.”

Issues in question included ramps and lack of toilets, but the emphasis on these things also helped the aged and sick people.

“There is really universal benefit in making a community accessible to everyone,” she said.

She said her message to people with disabilities was that “it is part of us, but it is not the whole of our lives”.

It was important to find people who want to help in such situations – she had benefited from them and “I keep finding more every day”, she said.

At the school for disabled students, Ms Vincent joined in a session of fun and games.

One girl asked whether she was the new classmate and whether she would be back next day.

Ms Vincent said there was a shortage of providers for the NDIS in the Mid North.

Providers can supply speech therapy, allied health services and physiotherapy, often with more than one service for a client.

“There are some positives, but a number of challenges geographically,” she said.,

Ms Vincent was keen to visit the school, having been chairwoman of a committee looking at the experiences of students with disabilities in the education system.

“We looked at some of the difficulties as well as positives – what we need to be doing more of,” she said.

Ms Vincent said she had an interest in gaining qualifications in counselling.

After all, there is no doubt – she is an inspiring individual.

http://www.portpirierecorder.com.au/story/4718246/theres-more-to-the-story/