International Day of People with Disability

International Day of People with Disability

RMIT students who have a live experience share what inclusion means to them.

One in five people in Australia have a disability and we may all be touched by disability at some point in our lives. International Day of People with Disability is observed annually on 3rd December as a day aimed at increasing public awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with a disability.

Michelle in black and white photo looking directly at camera RMIT Student Michelle McLachlan

Michelle McLachlan – Bachelor of Arts (Fine Arts)

Inclusion to me is being heard and valued as a respected contributor without bias. 

Accepting and respecting people as they are, for who and what they are, regardless of how close we might identify with them. Everyone’s ideas matter, and everyone’s work matters. Making space for others and allowing everyone to be included.

"RMIT’s Equitable Learning Services have helped me with my studies by giving me someone to talk to who understands what I’ve been through and what kind of help I need, and someone who can help advocate for me when I can’t.” 

Reggie sitting in restaurant holding mobile phone RMIT Student Reggie Chang

Reggie Chang – Associate Degree Screen and Media Product

“What I believe has helped with inclusion and diversity and trying to help me feel comfortable with my disability has RMIT has been the utmost support that I get as someone who has experience of disability.” 

“The RMIT Equitable Learning Services has helped a lot, and I wish more organisations would support this.” 

RMIT Student Alex Adorno RMIT Student Alex Adorno

Alex Adorno – Bachelor of Arts (Music Industry)

Inclusion to me is the practice of providing equal access to opportunities and resources. People who otherwise might be excluded, such as those who have physical or mental disabilities. 

We have differing needs to be able to meet the same level of output as each other, so equity is the way forward.

This means that I can have further elaboration on tasks, another individual might need a translator to get the most out of their classes or access to counselling to relieve mental tension during a stressful period.

These are examples of steps to include each other, meaning we all get to contribute in meaningful ways."

Student looking directly at camera RMIT Student Timothy Winning

Timothy Winning – Bachelor of Communications (Public Relations)

To me, inclusion is the celebration and acknowledgement of all our individualities and differences, as well as listening to each other and making adjustments to our behaviour and environment to allow for equal opportunities. Despite where we may come from or what challenges we may be facing.  

I have an equitable learning plan which was arranged by the Equitable Learning Services at RMIT. The plan provides myself and my teachers a guideline on how to provide to some extra assistance when I may be requiring it during the semester.

It has definitely been a great help and alleviates stress when needing to request for extensions or allowing for extra time for completing quizzes. I really think that without the Equitable Learning Services team I would be repeating some of my subjects.”  

Mark looking directly at camera with purple background RMIT Student Mark Morante

Mark Morante – Bachelor of Social Work (Hons) & Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology)

I’m a Disabilities and Carers Officer at RMIT University Student Union (RUSU), and I’m also a student with a lived experience of disability. To me, inclusion is showing that everyone has the opportunity to participate and engage in the activities and careers which they want, without any barriers to access. 

In my role with RUSU as a Disabilities and Carers Officer I will work to improve the opportunities and supports which are available to both students and staff at RMIT."

How you can be an ally

Writer, speaker, appearance activist and RMIT alumnus Carly Findlay OAM has provided tips on how everyone can put allyship into practice: 

  • Follow and engage with disabled people on social media 
  • Don’t speak for disabled people
  • Read widely, especially by disabled writers 
  • From team meetings to birthday parties, make sure your events are accessible with creating accessible infrastructure like accessible entrances, lifts, walkways and toilets, and interpreters and captioned audio descriptions 
  • Avoid poor contrast colours like yellow text on white
  • Caption social media posts and videos

Have a question or need help?

If you have any questions, please contact RMIT's Equitable Learning Services

26 November 2021


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