“Be Kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” (Socrates)
It’s Disability Action Week and Queensland Public Trustee is calling on everyone to reflect and celebrate the benefits of diversity, inclusion and accessibility in our community and workplaces.
Public Trustee of Queensland and CEO, Samay Zhouand, wants to use this week (25 November – 2 December 2023) to highlight hidden disabilities and the benefits that may be found through diversity.
“Some disabilities, conditions or chronic illnesses are not immediately obvious to others, some people may choose to identify their disability, and others may not.” Mr Zhouand said.
“Now more than ever, approaching everyone with curiosity and encouragement to disclose where they need support will serve to empower people, whatever their disability may be.
“At Queensland Public Trustee, it is our job to adapt to everyone’s disability, visible or hidden. Each new customer, and their support networks, are met by our friendly Officers for a comprehensive assessment.
“This assessment includes collecting details relating to their disabilities, strengths, preferences, and support needs. In some cases, our customers will need specialist support and will require the assistance of our Disability Support Officers (DSOs).”
Our Queensland Public Trustee DSOs are Occupational Therapists that provide state-wide support, assisting with financial administration and planning for disability, health and aged care.
They help our Trust and Legal Officers to understand medical and allied health documentation, clarify customer eligibility for Government funding subsidises and respond to specific customer requests.
Nicki Osborn, Disability Support Officer, describes how it’s beneficial for the team to view disability as a social construct, “viewing disability as a mix of physical and attitudinal barriers, which we can adapt or remove for our customers, is empowering for everyone.”
“We are trained to practice mindful engagement, by taking a customer-focused approach to every interaction. It’s extremely important to listen, reflect and always seek clarification to ensure our customers’ needs are fully understood.
“Something as simple as having a variety of communication channels to conduct our service, such as the use of a loudspeaker or video conferencing, means customers with altered speech clarity or problems holding a phone can communicate confidently and effectively with us.”
Disability Action Week is the perfect time to reflect on how we can work together to support the diverse needs in our communities. Every person is fighting a battle, take the time to listen, to understand and to adapt and above all, be kind.
For more information, please go to: Disability and aged support - The Public Trustee of Queensland (pt.qld.gov.au).
Read more about Queensland Public Trustee’s Disability Support Officers in our latest case study about supporting Jarrah* and his hidden disabilities.
*Name changed for privacy