New to disability?

Close-up Of Man Sitting On WheelchairIf you are a person living with a disability in New Zealand – you are not alone.  Nearly a quarter of all New Zealanders identified themselves as living with a disability in the last Census, a total of 1.1 million Kiwis!

Some people are born with an impairment which causes a disability, while others experience disability through injury or chronic illness, such as arthritis.  For some, disability can be temporary (like recovering from surgery, or a mild stroke), while for others it is a life-long challenge. Disabilities may be physical, sensory, neurological, psychiatric or intellectual.

What’s important to remember is that disability is a natural part of the human experience and there is now great focus on making our public spaces, schools, workplaces and communities inclusive to all people. Visit the Office for Disability Issues  for more information about New Zealand’s legislation on disability, including the New Zealand Disability Strategy, which is being revised in 2016.  

Find national support organisations – based on your impairment or disability
There’s nothing like getting support or advice from someone that knows a bit about what you’re going through. National support organisations based on conditions and impairments offer a range of services and advice, including information packs, phone and online help services and advocacy.

Local support organisations
There is plenty of support and information available at a local level as well. Read more for a list of organisations and services that will be able to give you support, education and help with advocacy.

Tips for adjusting to a new impairment or condition
Adjusting to life with a disability can be challenging. Here’s some ideas from people with disabilities, advocates and support groups.