Tyler has an acquired brain injury. A fall from his bike when he was twelve years old – no helmet. He wants to tell his story because he knows it will help others.
We met Tyler at the Youth Disability Inclusion Forum in August 2018, hosted by the City of Salisbury and Julia Farr Youth. The forum was facilitated by a group of young people who might ordinarily be characterised as disabled, though in this environment there was no evidence they were any less able than anyone else.
And that is important. City of Salisbury recognises that people with impairments are more or less disabled by the streets they move along, the doorways they go through, the way they are given information and the attitudes of the people they encounter.
The Council is committed to making Salisbury more accessible and more inclusive of people with diverse abilities. URPS is working with the Council to develop its Disability Access and Inclusion Plan (DAIP).
This is not a new process for the City of Salisbury. For more than 20 years it has been engaging the community to understand how best to improve access and inclusion. But now, under the South Australian Disability Inclusion Act 2018, all Councils and government departments will be required to develop a DAIP. And community consultation is a key requirement.
In our work with the City of Salisbury and other councils wanting to make a difference sooner, we have found that useful consultation with people who have diverse abilities requires enabling them to turn up, speak up and lead the conversation.
This is what Tyler did. “We should have the opportunity to speak for ourselves,” he said. The conversations that followed were rich, nuanced and useful.
Having the opportunity to speak for themselves was clearly empowering for the young people in the room. Having the opportunity to listen will ensure that the City of Salisbury continues to build a community that enables everyone to thrive.