Disability and Cultural Diversity

There are a range of influences that impact on career planning for people with disability and diverse perspectives of how disability is viewed within different cultures. When supporting the transition of recent immigrants with disability into tertiary education and employment it may be helpful to gain an understanding of the influence of culture in career planning.

Victoria has a large culturally and linguistically diverse population. At the 2011 Census 26.2% of Victoria’s population were born overseas and 46.8% of Victorians were either born overseas, or have a parent who was born overseas. Victorians come from more than 200 countries, speak 260 languages and dialects and follow 135 religious faiths.” (Victorian Multicultural Commission) “People with a disability from culturally diverse backgrounds have higher reported rates of disability – 22% compared to 18% in the general population” (DHS 2012).

The Ethnic Disability Advocacy Centre (EDAC) recommends that service providers “understand, respect and value cultural diversity” and that they “develop strategies to address additional needs and vulnerabilities arising from people facing double discrimination due to cultural/linguistic difference and disability.” There is a broad range of information available to assist with understanding unique cultural identities. It is important to also understand the individual identity.