Before coming to Koorana, I worked as a disability support worker for Life Without Barriers, and once registered as a Physiotherapist, explored the Aged Care sector. My interest in Physiotherapy however, stretches well beyond that time and started in Nepal.
Studying Physiotherapy for 3 years in Nepal, I was introduced to the Paediatric side of the profession and working for the NGO Self-help Group for Cerebral Palsy, I found my interest in the benefits of physiotherapy, in assisting those with a disability, intensify. Although I have since left Nepal, I credit a substantial amount of my knowledge and experience from my time practising there. I continue to assist the Nitin Cerebral Palsy Society, an NGO I helped establish in Nepal, with sustaining the mission to support children with disability.
There is a distinct difference between disability services available in Australia and what is available in Nepal.
In Nepal, there is an obvious lack of assistance or support for families caring for a person or child with disability. Facing poverty, many families find it challenging to sustain the family unit, and where disability is concerned, the challenge can become impossible.
I have found in Australia there is a strong focus on assistance and support for people with a disability and their families. Awareness and ongoing investigation helps us look at ways we can steer society towards becoming more inclusive and I feel we are on the right track for maximising awareness.
Social inclusion can look different to everybody. To some, it may mean adequate access to all amenities or increasing opportunities to participate in the community. For me, social inclusion is about involvement, engagement and enjoyment. It is about offering people with disability the opportunity to engage in social activities in a way that compliments their abilities and needs. This may be explaining what is happening during the activity in more detail, or providing certain masks for noise to achieve the full enjoyment of participating. It’s about adjusting the environment around the person with a disability, so they can enjoy the activity in its entirety. After all, we all have different interests and should be granted every opportunity to experience and explore those interests in an environment that is compatible with our needs.
Social inclusion is about seeing ‘the person’ first.
Binayak Dongol - Physiotherapist for Koorana Child & Family Services.
Binayak completed a Bachelor Degree in Physiotherapy at the University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia.