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What it’s like being me: an insight from young people with disability

What it’s like being me: an insight from young people with disability

As parents of teenagers with disability, it’s easy to feel overly protective of our children and to assume we know what they want and need.

As part of the research for our Teens and Beyond workshop, ACD partnered with Youth Disability Advocacy Service (YDAS) and asked young people with disability: What do you wish your parents knew?

Their responses were frank, funny and insightful, and they talked about lots of big topics: their hopes for the future, friendships and support from their family.

The group of young people had a diverse range of backgrounds and disabilities.  They discussed a range of topics relevant to all teenagers as well as areas that were unique to being a teenager with disability.

The main message from the young people was that their families were key in helping them become more independent.

Here is a little of what these young people said:

What are some words you would use to describe your family?

Loving, Caring, Protective, Supporting, Persistent

What are your hopes and dreams for the future?

  • Independence
  • A family of my own
  • To find love
  • To be independent!
  • Work
  • The same rights as everyone else

What do you wish your parents knew more about?

  • Disability is exhausting
  • Pressure does not equal helping
  • You don’t need to fix everything
  • Both my parents are migrants… I wish they knew more about the supports that are available in Australia
  • The NDIS is a pain in the butt, but I need help
  • That sometimes I just need a break and to not do anything

What about friendships and relationships?

  • I am not asexual because of my disability
  • Don’t assume you’re not going to be grandparents!
  • It can help to talk about this stuff so it is less embarrassing
  • I want[ed] to go to parties – my parents were very reluctant.  I went anyway and they got over it!

It was an interesting and lively discussion by the young people and in reading their feedback several parents of teens have responded by saying – they are spot on!

Posted on 09 May 2021