ABC Interview: Benefits of the NDIS in the context of our community

Deaf Services' NDIS and IAS Project Manager Garry Moran took part in an interview with ABC Far North Queensland to talk about the NDIS. Watch the video below and find a transcript underneath:


Kier Shorey (ABC Far North Queensland): It is Disability Action Week this week and the NDIS roll out which is happening right now is crucial but what can it do for people with hearing impairments? And, what if the rollout itself is not smooth? To help us understand I’m joined by Garry Moran the Northern Regions NDIS and IAS (Indigenous Advancement Strategy) Project Manager. Very good morning to you Garry, thanks for taking my call on this Tuesday morning.

Garry Moran: Good morning Kier it’s my absolute pleasure to be here, thanks for having me. 

Kier Shorey: So help us to understand how the NDIS can help people with hearing impairments. 

Garry Moran: Well basically, for the deaf and hard of hearing community the NDIS is quite revolutionary in that it gives deaf and hard of hearing people access to certain levels of support that they weren’t eligible for under previous models. So it is quite exciting for the deaf community in that it allows deaf people to access through their funding or plan from the NDIS to access interpreters. Which means they can use interpreters in a range of settings and it gives them more access to the community and empowers them. Whereas under the previous model an interpreter might have been provided to a particular event so deaf people would attend that event because it was accessible but at the same time it might not be an event that they wanted to go to or there might be other more crucial events or activities within the community that they might have attended but were unable to because they didn’t have access to interpreters. 

Kier Shorey: So they can use that funding to access the interpreters and get their services themselves Garry?

Garry Moran: That’s correct, under the NDIS model basically once you have your plan, depending on what funding categories you have and what that that entitles you to you have complete choice and control as to who you engage, particularly if they are a registered service provider under the NDIS.  So a deaf person might use some of their interpreting hours to become the local football coach for their son’s football team, or join the lions club, or to do their taxation, or renegotiate their mortgage, or look at their mobile plan, create a will, attend a play, all kinds of things. It really opens up the deaf communities’ engagement and social inclusion within the community and that’s a very important new development. It also normalises deaf people and allows them to promote themselves in a positive manner. 

Kier Shorey: Just hearing you say the idea that a person with a hearing impairment could become the football coach for their son by using these services is incredibly powerful Garry. 

Garry Moran: It is incredibly powerful and it really does emancipate deaf and hard of hearing people in a way that they’ve never had before because access has been denied under previous models. So this is a real turnaround and it does allow deaf people to really engage in the community and I think it also normalised disability, this is the whole idea of disability action week to highlight the disability sector. At the same time the NDIS has the potential for complete normalisation in that everyone is just a member of the community and we are all different. And I think the Deaf and hard of hearing community as well as people with disabilities have something to bring to the broader community and it’s not necessarily to be viewed as a negative thing but something that can be brought to the hearing community, the broader community and it can be a positive outcome for everybody. Everybody has something to contribute and I think we should all adhere to that. 

Kier Shorey: So how has the rollout of the NDIS been going and what is needed for it to work well?

Garry Moran: I think there have been some challenges linguistically for the deaf community. In order to access an Access Request Form, which is the first step of engaging with the NDIS and obtaining eligibility, deaf people are required to call a 1800 number and that does pose some difficulty for the deaf community. A lot of the information around the NDIS and the promotion of haven’t been accessible to deaf people in that very little of it has been provided in Auslan and so Deaf Services has stepped up as a duty of care to provide that information to the deaf and hard of hearing community to make them more informed. So there has been some challenges there. We continue to provide the same level of support and will do in Far North Queensland. I think one of the other challenges is that Deaf people are often a very misunderstood group in the disability sector in that not many people really know that much about Deaf people, they don’t know the name of the language, they don’t know that they use a different language, that they use interpreters, that there can be varying degrees of literacy across the deaf community and so I think that information is very important for NDIS staff members, particularly their planners and their local area coordinators and their Access Partners; who create plans for people with disabilities including the deaf and hard of hearing community, have a good understanding of what the needs and barriers are for deaf people. I think also one of the other challenges are now as the rollout occurs, more and more deaf people are accessing interpreters in various settings so there’s a huge demand on interpreting and it’s quite a specialised area. It’s not like you can train someone to be an Auslan interpreter in a 3 month short course. It takes a long time to become fluent in the language and to learn the ethics and the ins and outs of being a professional interpreter. Deaf Services is working hard to bring that up to speed by launching an RTO and we’ve had two graduations so far so we’re looking to prepare in terms of the rollout for the demand of interpreters by educating and having qualified interpreters coming through. 

Kier Shorey: Now Garry, we’ve got about 30 seconds before the news but a Deaf person, how should they be going about accessing these services? Are they all aware of the fact that the model provides this sort of support?

Garry Moran: So part of my role, before the rollout in various regions throughout Queensland was visiting those communities. We promote through our organisation and we have information sessions, day, evening, depending on the community’s needs. I provide some detail around what the process is to register with the NDIS and what supporting documentation is required to go with that Access Request Form once the receive it. We also promote that Deaf Services is able to support individuals to go through that process if need be, support them with acquiring the supporting documentation, completing the Access Request Form, we’ve also provided resources for GPs to use because they need to fill out part of it and don’t necessarily know the needs of Deaf people and a commitment from us to support deaf people through the planning process and in those planning meetings if and when required. 

Kier Shorey: Beautiful stuff, Garry really appreciate your time this morning. 

Garry Moran: Thank you Kier I really appreciate it. 

Kier Shorey: That’s Garry Moran there, he’s the Northern Regions NDIS and IAS Project Manager as the NDIS rollout continues in our region. 

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