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What does support look like today?

In this video, various people with disabilities share their ideas on support.
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(UPBEAT MUSIC)
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STEVE: My dad drives me around places. Most times, he drops me off and lets me do my own thing. He puts money in my wallet. And he says, “Spend wisely.” He’ll say, “I’ll be here.” And the shops will be way over there, so I have to come back where he’s sitting. That gets my memory growing on where directions is.
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DUNCAN: When my vision first degenerated, I needed support in certain ways that I don’t necessarily need now. Disability in and of itself is, you know, a different thing for different people. And it also is different for people as things change.
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JORDANNA: When I gave birth to Callie and realised she was deaf, I started to think about how much more respect I had for my parents. I’m deaf, yeah. But my parents took me to speech therapy, to the doctors, and went to all these different appointments. And now, having a daughter who’s deaf, I see three different doctors a week. It’s quite exhausting. But my first priority would be Callie, and I will do anything for her.
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VIVIENNE: A good carer must have some degree of intelligence and keep his or her clients’ views, thoughts, plans and personal business strictly confidential. We must stick to the routine to be fair to both of us and enable the carer to finish work on time.
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STEVE: When I’m doing something, I don’t want someone telling me that I’m doing wrong. I would first say to that person, “Oh, do you need help?” And if he or she, um, says no, then I will respect that.
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DUNCAN: I think everyone in some way or another needs support at some point in their life. When you’re born, you need support. At some stage of your life, you’ll get sick - you’ll need support then. Going through school - that’s a form of support. I think making sure that everyone gets some kind of support to be able to reach their full potential is really important.
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ANTONI: I have 24-hour support from my family, from my wife and my father, because I have a severe disability. But it does not mean that I cannot give support to other people with disabilities. So this is what I’ve been doing with my colleagues in Indonesia. So we support people with disabilities who have interest in entrepreneurship. The members that we support have been able to set up their businesses independently, and they also support other people. So we’re, like, supporting each other.
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DUNCAN: If we can incorporate as much support in society as possible in terms of a universal approach, then that’s a good one because it’s a model of inclusion. If you exclude someone and then say, “Oh, you can be included now,” it’s different to just including them at the beginning. And I think that’s the best form of support.
In the video above, the guest presenters share their perspectives on support. The overarching message is that we all need support to enable us to flourish.
Duncan and Jordanna emphasise that people need different kinds of support and different intensities of support at different points in life. In terms of impairment, particularly intensive supports might be needed when an impairment is acquired or when someone is a child. For example, Jordanna describes the intensive supports her daughter needs and explains how exhausting this can be for her as a mother. This experience has also given her a newfound appreciation of the support her parents sought for her growing up.
Steve and Antoni emphasise the importance of choice and independence, explaining how the support they receive and give allows them and others to do their “own thing.” Importantly, Antoni stresses that just because someone receives support doesn’t mean they can’t give it.
We provide a link to an audio description version of this video in the See Also section below.
portraits of the five guest speakers, laughing and smiling

Talking points

  • How is support understood as different to care in this video?
  • What similarities and differences do you notice in the ways the different presenters talk about support?
  • In what ways do these discussions about support reflect contemporary understandings of disability?
  • In what ways do you think people’s support needs might be influenced by other factors in their life, such as life stage, culture or geography?
In the next step we look at diverse perspectives on support.
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