We will be joining the People with Disabilities WA Inaugural State Conference on 19-20 November 2020 at the Bendat Parent and Community Centre in Wembley.
With the theme “Celebrating Self-Advocacy” this will be WA’s first conference led exclusively by people with disabilities.
Ruth Swan, from our Counselling and Support for people affected by the Disability Royal Commission service, will be presenting a talk on the topic of access and inclusion. The presentation will include information on how we have developed an inclusive mainstream counselling service that is shaped by lived experience of people with disability.
Relationships Australia WA sought information from other professionals in the disability accessibility field, which has led to renovations and thoughtful design of the Counselling and Support for people affected by the Disability Royal Commission service location, and an upgrade of our website to meet WCAG 2.0 accessibility guidelines.
Ruth said all employees in the organisation also undertook disability awareness training, facilitated by people with lived experience of disability from Maven, which has supported our staff in heightening awareness of issues faced by people with disabilities accessing services.
"We have used this knowledge to develop a flexible framework of engaging and working with clients where we invite clients to advocate for themselves within our service from their first contact with us," she said.
"As a result we offer outreach appointments, phone, email, online, and face to face appointments (or a mix of these), flexible length of appointments, flexible frequency of appointments, larger font on forms, outdoor sessions to reduce sensitivity to chemicals as a result of COVID-19 cleaning practices, ensuring clients are made aware of any changes to the environment prior to sessions, and providing advocacy support as needed.
"We have developed a flexible mindset which allows us to modify and adapt the service we offer for each individual client."
The People with Disabilities WA conference welcomes everyone, including people who identify as having a disability or mental health issue; carers, family and friends; service providers and community sector professionals; educators; health workers and the wider community.
It will be a fully accessible event, with subsidised places available for people with disabilities and family members/carers of people with disabilities.
Date: 19 - 20 November, 2020
Venue: Bendat Centre, Wembley
Registrations: Final registrations close November 2. Visit www.pwdwaconference2020.org.au for more information.