Maximising life choices of people with a spinal cord injury

Minister for Ageing and Disability Services, John Ajaka, launched the Research into Maximising Life Choices of People with a Spinal Cord Injury report at Parliament House to an audience of disability sector leaders on 14th November 2013. Minister Ajaka said the report, launched during Spinal Awareness Week (10-16 November), took a unique and refreshing approach to research by asking people with spinal cord injuries about their real life experiences.

Watch the presentation here.

Spinal Cord Injuries Australia (SCIA) recently commissioned the Social Policy Research Centre at the University of New South Wales to carry out research about maximising life choices of people with spinal cord injury (SCI).

SCIA really wanted to understand what the main things are that are stopping people who experience a SCI from being fully involved in all aspects of society. As our organisation's Vision is all about "a society without barriers for people with a SCI", we really need to do everything we can to understand what these barriers are, so we can do whatever it takes to remove them.

Some of the key issues that arose from the research were that people needed access to resources to maximise the opportunities and capabilities necessary for people to be able to make life choices and experience social inclusion. Research participants said that physical and emotional wellbeing was fundamental to being able to access opportunities. Furthermore, participants said the role of the family in terms of emotional, physical and financial support was one of the most important resources in being able to achieve these goals.

The resulting report highlighted eight main areas of importance for people with spinal cord injuries. They were: having support to maintain and improve health, supporting participation in family and social life, providing support to family and friends, promoting participation in the workforce, improving access to information resources, increasing financial security, improving government policy and increasing accessible housing, facilities and transport.

Please read the report and we would love to hear from people who have experienced a SCI to get their comments on how SCI impacts on your life, what works for you, what doesn't and what could be done better.

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