As restrictions within Victoria ease, we can all appreciate the importance of being able to safely plan our activities as we return together. For many people with disability, lack of information is a huge barrier when it comes to confidently engaging with the community.
In order to have a safe and enjoyable outing, they may need to know the best way to get their destination; if the location and the journey is wheelchair accessible, what sensory elements to expect and if there are appropriate bathrooms available, and so much more. That’s why we at DSR are proud to announce that we are continuing our partnership with Access Ability Australia.
About Access Ability Australia
Access Ability Australia provides all Victorians the information they need to go out, socialise and be active all in a space that is accessible to them. They do this through Access Keys, which are free to download customised accessibility guides. Access Keys show you where the toilets are, what accessibility functions are available, provide a sensory guide and so many other features.
Access Ability Australia also offers Social Stories that help users prepare for social interactions, communication boards to bridge communication divides and comprehensive accessible communication training.
How the Partnership Started
We are very excited about our relationship with Access Ability Australia and to get to know Co-Founders, Maxine Parker and Judy O’Connor. Richard Amon, our Chief Executive Officer, first met Maxine and Judy just as Access Ability Australia was branching out into sport and recreation facilities. It was the right place, right time and right people. From then, it was clear that DSR and Access Ability Australia were working towards the same goal of inclusivity and accessibility. And together, we have been committed to achieving a more inclusive, welcoming and accessible community for all people with disability.
“I thought this is a great value add to the work that we do,” said Maxine about getting to know DSR. For example, Access Ability Australia links to DSR’s NDIS Sport & Recreation Guide in relevant Access Keys. “The Access key user would say ‘I really want to go to this recreation centre, but I did not realise that I could use my funding to help me achieve that goal.’”
In order to uplift each other and grow together, DSR and Access Ability Australia will share training and dedicate ourselves to developing new skills. Judy and Maxine are experienced educators and met while working in education.
“Judy and I both discovered that we shared identical priorities, goals and visions for all of the students that we work with, and the community in general.” Said Maxine.
“We really wanted a resource that suited as many people as possible.” Judy added. “Our core business is always supporting people with disability, but it's just grown into a little flower for everybody. People who are seniors, parents with prams, anyone with little kids, people with anxiety... there's been some really lovely bonuses along the way. And, Maxine and I have learnt so much about access and inclusion.”
The Future of DSR and Access Ability Australia
As we enter another year of our partnership, we hope to continue to give people the tools and knowledge to go out and be a part of the community, safely, supported, independently and most importantly, on their terms.
“I think it's all around being authentic as well as accepting people for who they are” Judy said. “Authentic inclusion is a term we use a lot. We don't want to change anyone, we showcase what venues have available so people can make informed decisions from the comfort of their home.”
We’re noticing more and more sport and recreation facilities committing to access and inclusion every day. More buildings are designed with inclusion in mind. Places like Boroondara Sports Complex with facilities that allow participants of all abilities to develop new skills. And, Mill Park Recreation Reserve has an All Abilities Play Space.
Access Ability Australia continues to be a vital resource for all Victorians. Helping them feel confident and sharing what these incredible places have to offer. In turn, DSR will continue giving people with disability opportunities to participate, compete and get active on their own terms.
Join Our Movement
Every new person who joins as a member of Disability Sport & Recreation adds support to our vision of a Victoria where people with disability can choose and access any sport or recreation they want to engage with. Best of all, membership is free.