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Understanding support

In this video, various academics in the area of disability studies share their perspectives on disability support.

As we will emphasise in this step, understanding support really means understanding someone’s individual situation. In other words, in order to understand support, you need to understand human diversity.

In the above video, various presenters illustrate how support can operate differently depending on someone’s context. Tom presents an overarching perspective on support, explaining how, within his context, there are various layers of support moving outwards from the family. He also talks about support for children and older people, reiterating that support needs will be different for people across their life course. It is for this reason that Iva stresses the importance of supporting people across different life stages.

Antoni and John emphasise the importance of the policy context in determining the kinds of supports that one receives throughout their life. They give examples of how their local governments frame disability and support, and how this impacts what is supported and how.

Together, the speakers emphasise how people’s support needs can vary depending on:

  • the nature of their impairment;
  • their age or life stage;
  • their social, cultural and political context;
  • other aspects of their identity, such as ethnicity, gender or sexuality.

Talking points

  • What kinds of support have you needed in your life? (If it helps, you might think in terms of different life stages, such as childhood, adolescence, and adulthood.)
  • How have the kinds of support you have needed and the kinds of support you have been able to give changed over time?
  • Are there other factors that might influence an individual’s support needs, other than the ones mentioned above?
  • Why do you think “support” is such a dynamic and individual concept?

In the next steps, you will see examples of some of the diverse support needs of people with disabilities, as well as some ways in which people with disabilities might be supported to live good lives.

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Disability and a Good Life: Working with Disability

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