Susan Stork-Finlay

  1. Ms Susan Stork-Finlay, Occupational therapist and disability spirituality consultant, who has worked with Every Australian Counts. Currently an appointed member of the Victorian Equal Opportunity Human Rights Commission Disability Reference Group.

Spiritual rights, advocacy & opportunities with NDIS rollout for people with disability and faith communities.

Spirituality is a core life domain, and was recognised in a previous Victorian Disability State Plan. People with disabilities have the right to explore and express their spirituality, to fully participate in religious activities and leadership whether they live independently, with family, in residential care, are hospitalised or in respite care. The rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) brings great opportunity to enable people to fulfil previously neglected life domains, spirituality being one of them. Thus,  spiritual rights and advocacy need to be on the agenda. Some people have never been asked what they want in terms of spirituality because it hasn’t occurred to the family or carers, they haven’t got access to carers on the day of worship, prayers, synagogue, temple times change slightly each week. The religious setting may not be welcoming, sensory accommodating, or physically accessible in all areas. For some, spiritual expression may be noticing their God in nature sitting in a park under a tree, watching the waves, fresh flowers or a candle in their room to meditate or pray with, having their scriptures read to them. We will discuss what we can we do:

– as individuals and families completing NDIS plans, how do we incorporate spirituality, spiritual expression and supports that may be required?

– what is ‘reasonable’ community supports under NDIS definitions and ‘duty of care’ from faith community perspective.

– as disability service providers, what supports are their responsibility?

– as faith communities, how do we provide ‘reasonable adjustments’?