18 Dec ‘It shouldn’t be this hard’ – Families fight for child transport safety
New research by Monash University delves into the challenges faced by Australian children with disabilities and their families in accessing safe and inclusive transport. The study, titled ‘It shouldn’t be this hard,’ conducted by Monash University Emerging Technologies Research Lab and Mobility and Accessibility for Children in Australia Ltd (MACA), reveals distressing experiences among 10 families.
The ethnographic research involved immersive investigations, interviews, and ride-alongs, exposing common themes:
- Safety Concerns: Families express anxieties about the safety of their child, family, and others on the road when traveling with their child.
- Impact on Daily Life: Families struggle with the repercussions on their child and family’s ability to engage in daily activities due to transport challenges.
- Negative Experiences: Families report negative encounters with services, systems, and processes related to their child’s transport needs.
- Emotional, Physical, and Economic Toll: Managing a child’s transport needs takes a toll on families’ emotional, physical, and economic well-being.
Professor Sarah Pink from Monash University emphasizes the need for genuine collaboration between families and institutions to address these challenges. The research serves as a foundation for understanding the daily struggles faced by children with disabilities and their families. Pink states, “To ensure that children living with disabilities and their families don’t continue to fall through the cracks of regulatory and institutional governance and procedure, we need to start in the right place, with the people whose lives are impacted.”
Helen Lindner, Chief Executive of MACA, expresses the charity’s commitment to addressing systemic barriers. She highlights that children with disabilities are often left behind in terms of safe and accessible transport, and the research sheds light on the urgent need for systemic change. Lindner notes that MACA has already taken steps to address some of the issues identified in the research.
The findings underscore the urgent necessity for systemic changes to enhance the safety, independence, and community participation of children with disabilities and their families in Australia.
The research was funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services.
Main Image: Chris and Jerome’s Story
For more insights, watch videos shared by parents about their experiences Danielle and Luke’s story Chris and Jerome’s story. For more on Jerome’s journey see Here