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Community access and Participation workbook

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Part 1: Rights of people with disability

  1. Universal Declaration of Human Rights

All people in the world have rights, regardless of age, gender, race and disability. These rights are outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This declaration was written by the United Nations (UN) after World War II, to try to prevent such atrocities happening again.

Read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: UN General Assembly, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 10 December 1948, 217 A (III), Retrieved:

Although the Universal Declaration of Human Rights applies to all people, there are certain groups of people who are at higher risk of having their rights violated. This may be because they have unique or additional needs, or are less able to enforce their rights. Examples of vulnerable groups include children, and people with disabilities.

  1. Choose 3 of the rights that you feel may be particularly at risk for people with disabilities, and explain why/how. (150 words)
  1. Convention of Rights of People with Disabilities

To protect these vulnerable groups of people, the United Nations created documents (called ‘Conventions’) that expand on how their specific needs and rights should be met. Conventions are international agreements, guiding the way countries respond to an issue.

The specific rights of people with disabilities are outlined in the Convention of Rights of People with Disabilities.

Read an overview of the Convention:

Deaf Australia (n.d.) What is a Human Rights Convention? Available at:

Read this easy-to-read guide to the Convention:

United Kingdom Equality and Human Rights Commission (2010) The United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities: What does it mean for you? Available at:


The full Convention can found here for further reference:

  1. Choose three of the rights in the Convention that you think are relevant to occupational therapy practice. For each one, describe how occupational therapists can contribute to the right being realised (150 words)
  1. Disability Discrimination Act

Conventions are voluntary guidelines. Countries can sign (or ‘ratify’) a convention to say they promise to abide by it. To keep this promise, governments need to take the convention into account when creating and enforcing their laws.

Australia has ratified the Convention of Rights of People with Disabilities, and was one of the first countries to do so. In Australian law, the rights of people with disabilities are outlined in the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA). (Note: there are other more general laws, such as the Anti-Discrimination Act, that also protect the rights of people with disabilities).

Read an overview of the DDA:

Australian Human Rights Commission (2012) Disability discrimination: Know your rights. Available at:

Watch this video:, which imagines a world where non-disabled people are in the minority.

Watch the videos on the Australian Human Rights Commission website: including:

  • Let Me Win
  • A school in the Bush
  • Graeme Innes v Railcorp
  • A Grand entrance but not for all
  • Jacob’s story


  1. What is discrimination, and how was discrimination shown to the people in the videos? (150 words)

Part 2: The Australian social context

Watch the six ‘My story, my goals’ videos on the NDIS website –

Each video is approximately 1 ½ minutes in duration.

  1. How will supports provided by the NDIS facilitate community participation for the people in the videos? (150 words)
  1. How will the NDIS facilitate greater control and choice for participants of the scheme? (250 words)

 Part 3: Imagine you are the person with disability and use the wheelchair in the community (for example: in shopping center or train station). Answer the following questions:

  1. What difficulties did you experience? In what ways (if any) did you deal with these? (150 words)
  1. How did people react to you? (100 words)
  1. What was one thing that surprised you? (100 words)
  1. What was one positive thing you experienced? (100 words)
  1. What did this experience teach you about what carers / friends might experience when accompanying a person with a disability in the community? (150 words)
  1. What lessons for your OT practice will you take from this activity? (200 words)

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