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The Imbecile Passengers’ Act 1882, have discouraged disabled people from settling in New Zealand. They had required a bond from the person liable for a ship that disembark any person ‘lunatic, idiotic, deaf, dumb and blind who might become a charge on public or charitable institutions. In 1899, The Immigration Restriction Act was made and included in its list of restricted immigrants any idiot or insane individual and those agonizing from contagious/ infectious diseases. The purpose of such policies and strategies was to discourage disabled people immigrating to New Zealand. The government believed that they will become burden to the country and they would not want to waste government funds on them. They saw people with disabilities as a liability and can no way contribute for the betterment of the country.
Support for a person with disability usually came from their own families. Any financial support that they received were from charitable organisations.
Disabled persons were regarded as useless that is why the government has established and implemented laws and policies to stop them from coming to the country. People with disability were perceived as a burden or an outcast.
People in this era called disabled people dumb, lunatic, idiot, deaf and blind. They were often regarded as crazy. Labelling them as dumb means that they lack intelligence or they are stupid. The language that they used created barrier for the person with disability to even develop relationship with other people. Knowing that they were crazy or stupid the society has avoided and treated them as if they have no feelings.
Strategies and Policies:
The Mental Defectives Act 1911 had made a distinction among individuals of unsound mind, mentally infirm, idiots, imbeciles, the feeble minded and epileptics.In 1916, the New Zealand Census identified people who were deaf and dumb, blind, lunatics, idiots, epileptics, paralysed, crippled and/or deformed. Devices and special apparatus were put in place to identify defective children. Standardized care was emphasized especially for mentally incapable person. Children with ‘special needs’ were not allowed to go to school and they were put away in institutions.Some of the positive actions that came out during this period was the Plunket organisation. This organisation was focused on providing care and assistance to children with disabilities and their mother as well. After the world war, majority of the soldiers returning home were suffering from mental illness and physical impairments. The public challenged the government to provide services for the returning soldiers such as psychiatric treatment, physiotherapy and plastic surgery. During this era, the rehabilitation of the mentally and physically impaired into nation was given importance. The Disabled Servicemen’s League further developed the medical rehabilitation for ex-servicemen. In 1954, services offered by the organization became open to the public.
In 1950s and 1960s,the orientation towards large institutions for disabled people began to be challenged during the. IHC has set up day care centres, occupational groups and residential care homes. At the same time it followed a more rights-based way in seeking suitable learning facilities for their children. The government’s access to services for disabled people became more community and rights based during 1970’s. After the 1972 Royal Commission into Psychopaedic Hospitals, the authority funds were increasingly focused into building small residential care facilities rather than large institutions.
The 19th century saw greater separation of disabled people. The workforce had to be more physically consistent to perform everyday factory operations. Disabled individuals were cast off. They were pictured as ‘worthy poor’, in contrary to work-shy ‘unworthy poor’, and was given Poor Law Relief (money from public funds. They became more dependent on the medical calling for benefits, treatments and cures. Special schools and day-centres were set up separately which denied disabled and non-disabled people the day-to-day experience of living and growing up together.
Disabled people were called cripple, epileptics, feeble minded, paralysed and deformed. They were labelled according to their appearance or illness. This has led to harsh criticisms and they became the object of bullying. The barrier is that due to their physical deformities, they became different and made them stand out so right away people would notice them.
Strategies and policies
In 2000/2001, the government developed the New Zealand Disability Strategy. With the implementation of the new strategy, care for the disabled people has changed dramatically. Before, medical model was used which focuses on the treatment and rehabilitation of the impairments. Nowadays, the Strategy was based on the social model of disability. The model suggests that disabilities occur due to society unable to accommodate the disabled people’s needs. The aim of New Zealand Disability Strategy is to ensure that the person with disability is able to live his life on his/her own term and that their rights are protected all the time.
Office for Disability Issues was set up in year 2002. Focusing on disability across government and to lead the implementation and monitoring of the New Zealand Disability Strategy was its main goal.In 2004, the New Zealand Sign Language Bill was made and introduced into Parliament. It proposed recognising New Zealand Sign Language as the third, official language in the country.
New Zealand has taken a leading role at the United Nations in the growth of the agreement making absolute rights of disabled people.
The Labour-Alliance Coalition Government initiated a health system reform. In 2001, 21 District Health Boards (DHBs) were formed. Primary Health Organisation (PHOs) we’re developed in 2002 to manage primary care, including general practitioners and their services. New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000
For most of the 20th century, disability was thought to be a problem inherent in individuals. This is commonly known as the ‘medical model’, where disability was seen as being something ‘wrong’ with a person, which could be ‘cured’ or at least contained.
Solutions to the ‘problem’ of disability took the form of government and wider society helping to fix or accommodate the problems of those afflicted individuals. This was often by segregating people with the problem and providing a service (such as an institution) to meet their ‘special’ needs. As a result, the ‘human’ needs of many individuals were unmet.
During this era, the public’s view on disabled people has changed. they have accepted these people on what they are now and has stopped criticizing by not calling them degrading names. Instead of calling them confined to wheelchair or wheelchair-bound, they have changed it to having an impairment with their mobility. This era has also considered disabled people in public areas. Nowadays, they are now prioritized as evidenced by accessible toilets, mobility parking and priority lanes.
Service provision and Access framework
There are a lot of support services available for people with disabilities which are funded by the Ministry of Health. Below are some of the services:
Behaviour Support Services are for people with intellectual disabilities who pose challenging behaviours which make it difficult for them to engage in social activities and develop relationship. Talk to the local needs assessment and service coordination (NASC) for a referral. The NASC will then assess your eligibility for the Ministry-funded Disability Support Services. If accepted, they will work out which service will best meet the needs of the person, their family/whanau and other networks.
Supported Living is a service that helps disabled people to live independently by providing support in those areas of their life where help is needed. This service is available to anyone aged 17 and older. He/she should also be assessed for credibility. With Supported Living, you’ll identify the areas where you need help. These are written in a personal plan.
Areas where support may be needed could include using community facilities, shopping, budgeting or cooking and help them in dealing with agencies such as WINZ or other bank.
A support worker will work with you, usually at your home, but support will be provided at times and places that are agreed. This support is provided by an organisation that is contracted to Disability Support Services at the Ministry of Health.
How do I access Supported Living?
Talk to a Needs Assessment and Service Coordination (NASC) organisation about getting Supported Living.
They’ll assess you to make sure you’re eligible and that supported living is the right service for you. The NASC will then provide information about the Supported Living providers in your area and you can choose who you would like to provide this service. You may wish to gather further information about the providers before making your choice.
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