A team of Nursing students want to reduce discrimination against young people with disabilities.

Young people with physical disabilities have the same needs and dreams as other young people, but they face much bigger barriers to fulfilling those. These include transportation, housing, exercise, employment and cultural opportunities such as marae access. A team of Nursing students - Caitlin Black, Ruby Conner, Lauren Barbour, Jamie Burrows, Gemma Dowling, Tess Fitzgerald, Rebecca Gill, Daryl Caldwell and Jacqui Davies - found their own assumptions were challenged when they interviewed some of these disabled young people about their lives.

People with disabilities face discrimination in finding employment and housing. While some facilities may be accessible for them, they still need to work out how to get there. It is hardly surprising that physical disability is associated with poorer mental health. The Nursing students identified that accommodating people with disabilities is about more than just providing a wheelchair ramp. Providing information about physical accessibility of premises on an organisation's website would be helpful, and being disability friendly means being willing to work with disabled clients and other visitors to help them. 

The students have created a Facebook page, Connecting Physical Disability Otago, as a platform for people to access resources and talk to each other. Stickers promote the Facebook page, and a brochure about supportive organisations is available through the page. The students also wanted to encourage other people to increase their awareness and understanding about living with disability, so they made a poster "Breaking the Stigma". The brochure, stickers and poster have been provided to the organisations which they consulted in their research.

February 2022