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A Guide to Community Engagement with People with Disabilities

Resource Key: 4JXUVM6F

Document Type: Report



  • New Zealand Ministry of Health

Creators Name: {mb_resource_zotero_creatorsname}

Place: Wellington, New Zealand

Institution: New Zealand Ministry of Health

Date: April 2017


People with disabilities represent a significant percentage of the community. This guide offers practical advice about consulting with people with disabilities and reducing barriers to their full participation in their communities. It was developed in association with disabled people’s organisations, to assist agencies such as government departments, local bodies, district health boards, schools and community groups to engage with people with disabilities. Disabilities are diverse and can range from obvious impairments to invisible conditions. This includes people with: a learning/intellectual disability; physical impairments including mobility impairments, and those who use mobility devices or other assistive technology; sensory impairments/loss, including those with a vision impairment or who are blind and those with a hearing loss, who are hard of hearing or who are Deaf; mental health conditions, including those who experience disabling symptoms such as depression, anxiety or psychosis; neurological impairments such as brain injury and autism; chronic illness (such as diabetes, arthritis), as well as those whose experience of disability is ‘invisible’ (eg, people with auditory processing disorders might be able to hear well in one-to one conversation, but not if there is background noise in a crowded room). Some people experience multiple forms of disability. The presence of multiple disabilities along with the interaction between them can create high and complex needs resulting in an increased need for awareness and sensitivity around engagement. This guide focuses on engaging with people with learning/intellectual, physical and/or sensory disabilities. However, much of its advice can also be applied to work with people who experience mental health conditions. The principles of the Treaty of Waitangi (Te Tiriti o Waitangi), the New Zealand Disability Strategy, the Kia Tūtahi Relationship Accord and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (the UN Convention) all informed the development of this guide. The UN Convention was established to ‘promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity’. This guide will help organisations to ensure people with disabilities can access, on an equal basis with others, the physical environment, information and communications.

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