I.Lead in Education

Since the conference, our I.Lead Organising Committee have had many opportunities to talk about the awesome work that our youth with disabilities had done back in September 2019, even garnering interest from places like the Ministry of Education

The Education Gazette, a magazine that is distributed throughout the Ministry of Education and its connections, shed light the conference and the power of our work. Joshua Fuimaono, member of our I.Lead Organizing Committee, had major input into the article itself. He talks about how the simplest things, like stairs or narrow doorways, are just a few barriers that stop our yong disabled people form recieving the same quality education experience as their non-disabled peers.

This has compounding effects further into an individuals life, barring them from amazing job and career opportunities due to not being in the right class, learning the right thing, at the right time. There were also discussions mentioned of how the education system itself should be made to be more accessible, with the ability to deploy a number of different teaching methods to help those with neurodiverse or spectrum disabilities understand the content better.

This message of inaccesibility in the education system, both spatially and in delivery, are weaved into the article through the testimonial stories of some of our young conference attendees who had bad experiences with the current education system. This message is further emphasized through the numbers and statistics generated by Statistics New Zealand. Acccoridng to their quarterly report ending June 2019, only 25% of young people with disabilities aged 15-24 were in employment compared to 57.8% of non-disabled people in the same demographic.

The other side to an inaccessible education system and institute is the social aspect that many of our young people with disabilities miss out on. They aren't able to connect regularly and effectively with peers in their same learning bracket or age group due to not being physically in the classroom.

There is still a lot of support and demand for our story as the custodians of I.LEAD to talk about the work that we do to make a more accissble Aotearoa, and the Education Gazette is just one such place that is eargerly looking forward to what we do next.

Follow the link below to read the full Education Gazette article:
https://gazette.education.govt.nz/articles/access-essential-for-people-with-disabilities/ (external website)

And stay tuned in for more on the latest in I.LEAD news!!