People with an intellectual disability are often isolated, and can feel lonely and fearful. They can be vulnerable to bullying, manipulation, physical, financial and sexual abuse. Their lives are often restricted by what can be a lifetime of welfare dependence and its associated poverty.
Without the right support, people may struggle to achieve the milestones of adulthood; leaving home, studying, working, establishing a relationship, settling down and parents and siblings become the main support (albeit unpaid) in people’s lives
As parents or the person with intellectual disability age, new challenges may emerge and it is essential that supports are available to allow people to age in their own homes and communities.
IHC believes that:
- People with an intellectual disability have the right to be valued members of their local community – to live, work and play alongside other New Zealanders.
- People with an intellectual disability have the right to be well supported in the activities of daily living, community participation and to meet their goals and aspirations. This requires a workforce with the values, knowledge and skills to work in an empowering and respectful way.
- People with an intellectual disability must be able to live lives that are not hindered or constrained because of the fears, prejudice and discrimination of others.
- People with an intellectual disability have a right to self determination and to be supported to make decisions about all aspects of their daily lives.
- People with high and complex support needs have a right to appropriate, sustained support.
- There should be investment in initiatives to assist Maori with intellectual disability and their whanau to establish and build natural connections with their communities.
- People with an intellectual disability must be supported to play a valued role in their cultural community of origin.
- People must be supported to age in the familiar surroundings of their home and community.
What is IHC doing:
- IHC advocates at a systemic level for the rights of people with an intellectual disability as citizens to full inclusion in their community
- IHC are playing an active role in work being done to respond to Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities ( Supported Decision Making)
- IHC supports the Be Accessible project
- IHC are members of the Disability Employment Forum
- IHC provides information and advice to people with an intellectual disability, their families and support networks about their rights
- Community forums are run by IHC”s National Self Advocacy Team to hear from people with an intellectual disability about things that are working well and things they would like changed. This year the Community Forums have also focused on what people can do if they are bullied.
- IHC promotes a total communication approach to support the communication needs of people with an intellectual disability
Join us/Take action
Stuart from Whangarei
“Being part of a neighbourhood is important to me. I help my neighbours with their gardens and they look out for me as well. Being a good neighbour and having good neighbours makes me feel safe. I am also well known for being an expert vegetable grower and they ask me for advice which is really cool.”
Hamish from Christchurch
“Transport in Christchurch is terrible since the earthquake, but it is good to know that we are all in this together. People ask me if they can help me when I am out walking. I feel like I have the same problems as everyone else and I can help others with their problems.”
Waata from Whakatane
“In my town I am known as a fisherman. I trade my fish for some pork from my mates who are hunters. We all have our roles in gathering and sharing kai. This makes me feel part of a huge whanau.”
Anthony from Wellington
“Yeah I have a disability, and sometimes people hold this against me, but the cool thing is that I get to make my own decisions about things. Like who I live with and how I live my life …. the good, the bad and the ugly.”