Practising inclusion in policy design for people with disabilities
This chapter examines the ingredients required for effective policy in the area of disability. Effective policy should foster the inclusion of people with disabilities as citizens and the full realisation of their human rights. This chapter draws on an analysis of Victorian State government assistive technology (AT) programme policy, in Australia (Layton et al. 2010). This research surveyed 100 Victorians with disabilities in order to identify their current and desired use of AT (aids and equipment), environmental modifications and personal care, together conceptualised as an ‘assistive technology solution’ (AT Collaboration 2009). The methods included an online survey, designed to be accessible to a broad range of people with disabilities utilising AT to communicate. This was supplemented by a small case study sample who participated in an interview series. The research had substantial involvement of people with disabilities at the design, recruitment and dissemination phases. AT policy is a useful lens through which to view effective policy for people with disabilities, as there is significant critique of the existing policy framework (see, for example, KPMG 2006; Pate and Horn 2006; Wilson et al. 2006; Summers 2010). The arena of AT has been demonstrated to greatly improve the lives of people with disabilities in a wide range of areas (Layton et al. 2010). This chapter reviews key concepts from the literature relating to policy for marginalised groups (including disability-specific literature) and goes on to identify the core ingredients necessary to align disability policy with the aspirations and experiences of people with disabilities. The analysis concludes that existing disability programme policy, at least in the arena of AT, is underpinned by a rationing approach to social inclusion, causing people with disabilities to ration their inclusion activities and fundamental life needs.