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Access: One in Four – NZ Disability Survey

24 Responses

  • Sacha,

    I am told that the next set of results is scheduled for release in July.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19667 posts Report Reply

  • Brent Jackson,

    To avoid confusion with impaired mobility, you may wish to talk about impaired dexterity rather than impaired agility.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Brent Jackson,

    Good idea. That’s what Stats NZ call it, but they have made some changes this time within those categories. I really need to dig up the detailed questions.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19667 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    I would like to know the individual questions, too. Autism is still mainly in the big 'other' category, which isn't very helpful but there might be something more to come. But what is really interesting is the estimate of 2% of the population with intellectual disability (as they classify it). That means c90,000 people up from early estimates of 30-50,000.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3194 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    I'd like to get hold of the main Census answers, which should shed more light on autism. And the way StatsNZ differentiates impaired thinking is seriously problematic.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19667 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    I note the internal proportions sight has grown- and that is due to the raw numbers for all but under 5 increasing quite dramatically compared to the population increase in the period.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 1443 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to David Hood,

    Impaired sight increases with age. However, as a proportion of all disabled people, it's much the same as in previous survey rounds. Can I ask where you found figures in 5-year age bands?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19667 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    that was a typo on my part, it should have been under 15 (so 0-14) (table 4.02)

    My point wasn't that it was rising, it was that the visual category is rising faster than the population is aging. If you take the age bands (0-14,15-44, 45-64, 65+) and compare the 2001 to 2013 results in raw numbers for visual, and work out the size of the total population change in the general census, you get
    0-14, general pop. increase +2%, visual decrease -55% (changes in giving oxygen to premature births)
    15-44, general pop. increase +4%, visual increase +124%
    45-64, general pop. increase +32%, visual increase +166%
    65+, general pop. increase +31%, visual increase +58%

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 1443 posts Report Reply

  • WaterDragon, in reply to David Hood,

    Thanks Sacha.
    There's been an interesting swerve to the overall%. For the first two post census surveys, the overall percentage was 20%. Then for reasons not well understood even to Stats NZ (who almost stood on their heads trying to explain it, though nobody in the end could do so in a particularly satisfactory way), in the third survey it dropped to around 17%. Now it is back up around where we might be expected, given the aging cohort moving through and the incidence of impairment increasing with age.
    I am always slightly bemused that so many people don't really quite understand the implications of the majority experience-the majority of us have more than one impairment! It has substantial implications for service provision, not to mention that disabled people can go through all sorts of contortions in trying to obtain appropriate services to meet all of the needs. And that's before health conditions are added too, to further complicate the picture.
    As I recall it (and I doubt the wording of the questions about mobility impairment will have changed substantially, though as Sacha notes, some changes have been made in some places), there's a mix of agility and mobility in the questions.

    Behind you • Since Jul 2011 • 74 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to David Hood,

    Thank you. Interesting trend.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19667 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to WaterDragon,

    the majority of us have more than one impairment! It has substantial implications for service provision

    And for research, which often insists on mono-impaired participants and therefore misses a whole lot.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19667 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to WaterDragon,

    Apparently they moved a couple of the detailed questions from the Agility to the Mobility category. Doesn't seem to have made much difference to the numbers.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19667 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe,

    Re the hearing-disabled numbers, I expect this number will rocket in a few years due to revised definitions and wider provision of Auditory Processing Disorder testing, which is at present uneven, discriminatory and with practically zero funding.

    APD is estimated in a report out this year to affect as many as 30 percent of Maori and Pasifika people and around 10 per cent or more of other ethnic groups.

    Provision of testing and equipment are the responsibility of District Health Boards for 0-5 yr olds and over 18s; and the Ministry of Education for 6-18s.

    However, only a few DHBs fulfil their obligations, and then with waiting lists. If your DHB doesn’t test (not in Canterbury), expect to pay $400 minimum for APD tests. Then you might be able to get the equipment.

    For the 6 to 18 yr olds, Education only provides testing and equipment under strict criteria, where it’s classified as a learning disability, not a hearing disability, and other learning disabilities must be present. Even then the numbers are severely limited to fewer than 100 per year total. Of the few diagnosed with APD, most are diagnosed mid-childhood as the tests are not suitable for most very young children. So again access to the expensive tests is uneven at best and non-existent for large parts of New Zealand. Then the issue of actually qualifying for getting the equipment: near-impossible.

    So if you're wealthy, fine. If not, tough.

    I have learned all this in the last two months as, after a decade of attempting to resolve our son’s hearing difficulties, we may finally be seeing some light at the end of the tunnel.

    I’m furious about the profound difficulties he has needlessly faced because “some audiologists do not believe in APD”.

    Rage; self-blame because I have not found this sooner among other feelings; a maelstrom of emotions overwhelmed me about six weeks ago when suddenly, through a stroke of good fortune, he and I were started to be taken seriously. This was right about the day of Sacha’s first Access blog, and I wept as I read the words that described so perfectly how my young man has been dismissed, and that described the effects on him.

    This tale is only beginning, and I plan to write more as I gain more understanding.

    Thanks everyone, for your contributions to Access, to Sacha, and to Russell. It’s helping us find a better place in the world.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2895 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Hebe,

    Thanks. Please do write more. We welcome guest posts.

    Imagine if the system was about serving needs rather than rationing access. It distorts the experience so much, and it wastefully affects the self-belief of disabled people and our families.

    Interestingly it's the industry organisation representing the audiologists that keeps making inflated claims about how many New Zealanders have impaired hearing. And nobody is challenging the lie.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19667 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to Sacha,

    Imagine if the system was about serving needs rather than rationing access. It distorts the experience so much, and it wastefully affects the self-belief of disabled people and our families.

    The rationing of access is exactly the problem: it's so wrong, and discriminatory. It's gob-smacking for me as newcomer to the disability area.

    Every day I contrast the woeful response to my teenager's difficulties over the last 10 years with the comprehensive in-the-community wraparound services provided to very elderly family members. Christchurch lost so many elder care beds in the earthquakes that community care has been ramped up and is now being lauded as an example to the world.

    Why not for people with disabilities?

    I'm barely containing my fury at the situation, having to delete and rewrite multiple times to remove the excesses!

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2895 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Hebe,

    comprehensive in-the-community wraparound services provided to very elderly family members

    compared with education for disabled children where only one in a hundred of them would qualify (and they'd have to pretend to be as badly-off as possible and plead their case in triplicate). #grrr

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19667 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Hebe,

    I’m barely containing my fury at the situation

    That's what it is like for many people. And you can't un-realise.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19667 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to Sacha,

    I’m barely containing my fury at the situation

    That’s what it is like for many people. And you can’t un-realise.

    Rrrrrr. That’s the response my whole family has had. Not that we’re trouble-makers in any way. Oh no ;-)

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2895 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Hebe,

    Writing about that experience would help others realise they're not alone, when you're ready. Maybe write stuff now and publish when it feels right.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19667 posts Report Reply

  • Lisa Black,

    NZ Lawyer has picked up on these stats too and is noting the lack of representation in the legal community.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2010 • 71 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Lisa Black,

    Thank you. I love how the article emphasises what disabled people bring to the table for any profession.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19667 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Another angle on the law. Donald Beasley Institute (Dunedin) study underway on developing a legal system responsive to people with learning disability

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3194 posts Report Reply

  • Marc C,

    This new survey appears to be more inclusive than earlier ones, but it is probably fair and reliable enough, to say that at least one in five - to one in four - New Zealanders has a disability. These include many conditions and impairments suffered due to that, and there will be various degrees of severity also. Many affected also have a number of conditions.

    What concerns me is how disability is interpreted and how persons with impairments get treated, by employers, same as government agencies and departments, not only here, but also in places like the UK. From there we have with the more recent welfare reforms been confronted with supposed new "findings", claiming that many persons on benefits are merely suffering forms of "illness belief" and perhaps are even "malingerers", so they stand kind of challenged or accused of not making enough efforts to overcome own issues, and try to get into paid work on the open job market.

    A Principal Health Advisor for MSD and WINZ, Dr David Bratt, has in many "presentations" to GP and medical trainee meetings even likened benefit dependence to "drug dependence". It is astonishing that such a public servant can apply such bias and use selected, one sided statistics to make his points.

    Of course there is a strong lobby movement supporting people with disabilities into "suitable" employment, by supporting them and also making employers behave less discriminating. I am worried though about the new approach now applied by Work and Income, where they adopted approaches already promoted and introduced in the UK by a controversial "expert" called Professor Mansel Aylward, which means they now rather look at what a client "can do" rather than what they "cannot do". In the UK the reforms with a rigid, harsh and demanding "work capability assessments", actually designed by Mansel Aylward, led to many appalling recommendations and decisions that their DWP relied on, upon getting them from the outsourced assessor ATOS. There were cases of self harm and suicide, reported on in their media.

    We are told the approach WINZ use is different and less draconian, but I am not so convinced, as I have heard of some horrible stories some had to tell me. Especially those with mental health issues will be prone to potentially flawed diagnosis, and I am not convinced that WINZ case managers, or even their health and disability advisors, are qualified and trained enough to avoid making dangerously wrong recommendations and decsions on persons' ability to work.

    So now WINZ have outsourced so-called "mental health employment services" and also "work ability assessments" to private, contracted providers, who earn nice fees for referring clients into work, or for assessing them on work ability. With such "rewards", and with questions remaining on the quality of scientific findings all this is based on, and with many professionals involved possibly lacking needed qualifications and expertise, I expect that there will be some horror stories coming our way soon. By the way, all these providers, and WINZ staff, are expected to meet TARGETS, and they are also getting paid by MSD. So what does that mean for supposed "independence" of their decisions?

    For more researched and collated details on all this, perhaps have a study of the following:

    http://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.wordpress.com/2014/06/21/work-ability-assessments-done-for-work-and-income-a-revealing-fact-study-part-a/

    http://accforum.org/forums/index.php?/topic/16092-work-ability-assessments-done-for-work-and-income-%E2%80%93-partly-following-acc%E2%80%99s-approach-a-revealing-fact-study/

    http://accforum.org/forums/index.php?/topic/15463-designated-doctors-%e2%80%93-used-by-work-and-income-some-also-used-by-acc/

    http://accforum.org/forums/index.php?/topic/15188-medical-and-work-capability-assessments-based-on-the-bps-model-aimed-at-disentiteling-affected-from-welfare-benefits-and-acc-compo/

    Akl • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Marc C,

    You might be interested in this post about govt secrecy on welfare policy evaluations.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19667 posts Report Reply

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